Optum's day in court: Trial on the Change Healthcare deal begins

The Justice Department's planned trial to block Optum's $7.8 billion deal to merge with Change Healthcare has begun.

Optum, which is owned by UnitedHealth Group, announced plans to buy Change Healthcare late last year. The transaction has come under scrutiny of the Justice Department, which claims it could be anticompetitive. The Justice Department decided to intervene in the merger and scheduled a two-week trial beginning Aug. 1.

Optum said the acquisition will "simplify the core clinical, administrative and payment processes of healthcare providers and payers," in an April 5 statement. The companies extended their merger agreement through Dec. 31 to account for the trial.

"The U.S. Department of Justice's attempt to block the combination is without merit and serves only to delay improving the experience and outcomes for all participants in the health system," Optum wrote in the April statement. Optum agreed to pay a $650 million fee to Change Healthcare if the merger is blocked by the court.

This is the Justice Department's first healthcare merger challenge to go to trial during the Biden Administration, according to Bloomberg. The Biden administration has spoken out against anti-competitive transactions overall and in the healthcare sector.

Read more about the Optum-Change Healthcare deal here.


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