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Anthem Faces Showdown With Antitrust Cops in Bid for Cigna

  • Companies said to meet with Justice Department’s No. 3 Friday
  • U.S. decision on the $48 billion tie-up could come in July
Updated on

Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp. are preparing for a showdown with senior Justice Department officials this week in their effort to persuade the government to allow the health insurers to combine, lest they wind up dueling in court over a $1.85 billion breakup fee, according to people familiar with the matter.  

The health insurers are set to meet Friday with the department’s No. 3 official, Bill Baer, according to one of the people, a critical moment as the government makes its decision about whether to approve or block the deal that was proposed almost a year ago. This phase of a merger review can feel like a roller coaster ride, antitrust experts caution, with the outcome difficult to predict as companies jockey with enforcers in last-ditch meetings.