US judge objects to 'rubber stamp' approach to CVS, Aetna deal

Although CVS Health's deal to buy Aetna for $69 billion closed Nov. 28, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon raised the prospect of not approving the deal during a routine legal process post-transaction, according to Reuters.

The Justice Department first greenlighted the deal in October with the condition that Aetna sell its Medicare Part D drug plan business. Although the transaction closed, the court must approve the final agreement between the government and merging companies.

CVS told Reuters, "It’s commonplace for acquisitions to close before this final step in the process is complete, and our focus remains on delivering on the combined company's potential."

During the routine hearing to discuss the final deal, the judge raised the prospect of not deciding on the deal until summer or perhaps rejecting it, saying he objected to the government's and company's treatment of him as a "rubber stamp" for the deal.

"I was reviewing your motion, which, of course is not opposed. And I kind of got this uneasy feeling that I was being kept in the dark, kind of like a mushroom," the judge told lawyers for the Justice Department, according to Reuters. "I'm very concerned, very concerned that you all are proceeding on a rubber-stamp approach to this."

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