In Highly Unusual Move, Federal Judge Wants To Hear From Witnesses Opposed To The CVS-Aetna Deal
The Justice Department has already approved the acquisition but U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has been voicing his concerns that the department did not adequately address potential competitive harms raised by the merger. A federal law called the Tunney Act requires proposed merger settlements to be approved by a federal court. Usually the process is all but a rubber stamp, but Leon has been making waves with his critical approach to the deal.
The Wall Street Journal:
Federal Judge To Hold Hearings On Decision To Allow CVS-Aetna Merger
A federal judge on Friday said he wants to hear in court from witnesses who object to the Justice Department’s decision last year to approve CVS Health Corp.’s nearly $70 billion acquisition of Aetna Inc.—a highly unusual move that threatens to shake up the already-consummated deal. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C., is reviewing a department settlement last fall that allowed the merger after the companies agreed to sell off assets related to Medicare drug coverage. “This is a matter of great consequence to a lot of people,” Judge Leon said during a brief court hearing. Health care “is a high priority issue for tens of millions of families,” he added. (Kendall, 4/5)
Federal Judge To Hear Witness Testimony In Review Of Aetna And CVS Merger DOJ Approval
Leon reportedly inquired in court whether the settlement sufficiently protected industry competition. A CVS lawyer argued that judges had never called for witnesses in such hearings. Leon reportedly said he foresaw a weeklong May hearing on the matter. The American Medical Association and consumer rights groups reportedly said they wanted to testify. The Justice Department and CVS would also be permitted to present witnesses. (Frazin, 4/5)