Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Health insurer Cigna announced it is suing competitor Anthem Inc. for $14.8 billion after a federal judge a merger of the two companies.
In upholding the end of the $54 billion merger plan on antitrust grounds, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote last week that the proposed merger would raise prices and eliminate competition for large national accounts. A similar merger between health insurers Humana and Aetna was blocked several weeks earlier.
Cigna announced a lawsuit against Anthem on Tuesday, seeking a $1.85 billion termination fee from Anthem, as well as $13 billion in damages. It came after Anthem sued Cigna to keep Cigna from terminating a merger agreement between the two companies, which was extended to April 30.
An Anthem statement said despite the court ruling Cigna "does not have the right" to terminate the agreement, saying Cigna "failed to perform fully its obligations in a manner" resulting in the failure of the merger.
"Cigna's lawsuit and purported termination is the next step in Cigna's campaign to sabotage the merger and to try to deflect attention from its repeated willful breaches of the Merger Agreement in support of such effort. Cigna's obvious efforts to sabotage the merger have been recognized by both the District Court and the national media. As the District Court noted, it could not ignore the 'elephant in the courtroom,' and the fact that Cigna was 'actively warning against' the merger and that 'Cigna officials provided compelling testimony undermining' Anthem's defense. In addition, the District Court noted that it could not overlook 'the doubt sown into the record by Cigna itself.'"
An Anthem spokeswoman said the company is still committed to closing the deal, an indication the end of the merger attempt will be played out in court.