Aetna CEO confident Humana deal will pass antitrust scrutiny

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Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini believes his company's $37 billion deal to acquire health insurer Humana will pass antitrust review, allowing the transaction to close in the second half of 2016, according to Reuters.

Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Louisville, Ky.-based Humana July 3. Under the deal, Humana stockholders will receive $125 in cash and 0.8375 Aetna common shares for each Humana share.

Before the deal was announced, Aetna had already prepared for the possible changes the company might have to make due to its acquisition of Humana, including divestitures in areas where the two insurers' business overlap.

"We took a conservative view of what we would need to divest," Mr. Bertolini said during an investor conference call, according to the report. "We believe that given the legal advice we haveā€¦that this is a very manageable transaction."

Hospitals have called for the Department of Justice to take a very close look at the transaction, which they believe might limit competition in some markets.

"Any potential deal of this magnitude needs rigorous scrutiny," said Alicia Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the American Hospital Association, in a statement provided to Reuters. "That's why the AHA will call upon the DOJ and Congress to exercise a significant level of scrutiny."

More articles on payer issues:

Aetna inks $37B deal to acquire Humana: 5 things to know
Health insurer Centene to buy rival Health Net for $6.3B
125 things to know about the 'big 5' insurers

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