Delaware Supreme Court rejects Cigna’s appeal bid for $1.85B breakup fee from failed Anthem merger

The Delaware Supreme Court has rejected Cigna’s appeal bid over a $1.85 billion breakup fee from its failed merger with Anthem.

A lower Delaware court ruled in August that neither party would receive damages following the deal’s dissolution. The merger was blocked by a federal court on antitrust grounds in 2017.

The state’s highest court unanimously sided with Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster’s ruling in an order issued Monday.

The legal back-and-forth between the two insurance giants following the failed merger has been lengthy and contentious, with Laster presiding over much of the case. He called it a “corporate soap opera” and “a battle for power that spanned multiple acts” in his August ruling.

“Each party must bear the losses it suffered as a result of their star-crossed venture,” Laster wrote.

RELATED: Shareholder suit claims Anthem executives ignored risks of Cigna merger

Shortly after the merger was blocked in federal court, Cigna sued Anthem to break free from the deal, and sought billions in damages and termination fees.

Anthem said in a statement to Fierce Healthcare that it is satisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We’re pleased with the outcome and eager to continue our work to improve the health of our associates, members and the communities we serve,” the insurer said.

We’ve reached out to Cigna and will update this story when we hear back.

Since the deal fell through, Cigna instead opted to acquire Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager, in a deal valued at $67 billion. The purchase closed in December 2018.

A similar, though less fractious, deal between Aetna and Humana was blocked and also dissolved in 2017. Aetna has since been acquired by CVS Health in a $69 billion deal that faced plenty of legal bumps of its own.

Humana is still viewed by financial experts as a potential acquisition target, with rumors of a potential purchase by Walmart swirling in April 2018.

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