The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Cigna Says Anthem Deal Could Close in 2017; Anthem Sticks to 2016. Health insurer Cigna Corp, which announced plans to be bought by larger Anthem Inc 10 months ago, on Friday said the deal may close in 2017 rather than 2016 due to the complexity of the regulatory process, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The U.S. Department of Justice is currently reviewing the Cigna-Anthem deal, which raises serious antitrust issues given that it would create the nation’s largest health insurer.
Halliburton and Baker Hughes Call Off $35 Billion Merger. For a year and a half, Halliburton and Baker Hughes, two big oil field services companies, had been focused on their $35 billion merger. That distraction, even as commodity prices deteriorated and their peers cut costs to survive, is finally over. The two companies announced that they would terminate the merger after an excruciatingly long regulatory review process that culminated in a lawsuit last month by the Justice Department to block the deal on antitrust grounds.
Bankers Say U.S. Antitrust Concerns Weigh on Deal Activity. Antitrust concerns are preventing corporations from pursuing mergers more than other broad regulatory or economic issues, several senior investment bankers said during a panel on Tuesday at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference. “It’s that increasingly high bar that we’re seeing from an anti-trust perspective,” said Paul Stefanick, Deutsche Bank AG’s head of corporate and investment banking in the Americas. Stefanick said doubts about whether deals can pass muster with antitrust regulators are a bigger barrier to deals than uncertainties like the outcome of November’s U.S. election.
FCC Confirms Approval of Charter, Time Warner Cable Merger. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission confirmed on Friday that it had voted to approve Charter Communications Inc’s acquisitions of Time Warner Cable Inc and Bright House Networks. The deals, which would create the second-largest U.S. broadband provider and third-largest video provider, now need approval from regulators in California.