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August 27, 2018

Shareholders approve Cigna's proposed merger with Express Scripts. What's next?

Daily Briefing

    Cigna's and Express Scripts' shareholders on Friday voted to approve the companies' proposed merger.

    Read our take on Cigna's proposed merger with Express Scripts

    Details of the proposed merger

    Health insurer Cigna has proposed acquiring Express Scripts, the largest prescription benefits manager (PBM) in the United States, in a deal valued at $54 billion. The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is scheduled to close later this year pending regulatory approval.

    If the deal goes through, the combined company would be called Cigna and would be based in Bloomfield, Connecticut—where Cigna has its headquarters. The Express Scripts business would keep its St. Louis headquarters. Cigna CEO David Cordani would lead the combined company as president and CEO, while Express Scripts CEO Tim Wentworth would be president of the Express Scripts business. The combined company would have a board of 13 directors, four of whom would be "independent members of the Express Scripts board," according to an announcement.

    The companies said the deal aims to curb health care costs by coordinating pharmacy and medical claims under one organization while giving the combined company more leverage when negotiating prices with drugmakers. The companies added that the deal would "drive the combined company's role as the connective tissue between individuals and their health care providers providing a more coordinated approach to an individual's health care journey."

    Cigna CEO David Cordani in a statement issued Friday said, "Our combined company will enhance Cigna's differentiated service-based model, fueled by actionable insights and analytics, to drive innovation, and meaningful growth in a highly dynamic market environment." He continued, "As a result, we will build more effective partnerships, further improve health outcomes and deliver a superior customer experience."

    Proposed merger still subject to regulatory approval

    The proposed merger still is subject to regulatory approval. According to Forbes, it is unclear whether federal regulators will approve the acquisition, as some have called for the Department of Justice to perform a "rigorous review" of the proposed merger. Express Scripts is one of the last independent PBMs, as many have merged with a health insurer, according to The Hill (Dearment, MedCity News, 8/24; Hellmann, The Hill, 8/24; Japsen, Forbes, 8/24).

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