Justice Department Says Anthem/WellPoint Merger Will Not Affect Competition
The Department of Justice said Tuesday that the proposed purchase of WellPoint Health Networks by Anthem would not have a negative impact on competition or consumers, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. In its first public comments on the deal, DOJ said in a release, "WellPoint's share in the markets in which they overlap is very small, and these companies are not particularly close competitors" (AP/Chicago Tribune, 3/10). DOJ late last month declined to block Anthem's purchase of WellPoint, and the Federal Trade Commission has closed its antitrust investigation into the merger. In November, four House Democrats asked FTC to examine the proposed merger to ensure the deal would not affect competition in the insurance market or harm consumers. Officials from Indiana-based Anthem last October announced an agreement to purchase California-based WellPoint for $16.4 billion in cash and stock. The combined company, which would use the name WellPoint and have its headquarters in Indianapolis, will have $27.1 billion in assets, 40,000 employees and 26 million members in 13 states (California Healthline, 3/1). Insurance commissioners in the 13 states in which the plans operate will conduct reviews of the merger in the coming months, to be followed by shareholder votes at the two companies. WellPoint and Anthem expect to close the deal at midyear, according to the AP/Tribune (AP/Chicago Tribune, 3/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.