Aetna And Humana Stock Each Drop 2% In Heavy Volume After Federal Judge Blocks Merger

By Emma Court Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Aetna Inc. shares dropped 2.4% and Humana Inc. shares dropped 2.0% in heavy volume during midday trade Monday after The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported that a federal judge had blocked their merger on antitrust grounds. The federal judge's Monday decision said the DOJ had successfully argued that the deal could hurt consumers with Medicare Advantage plans, according to the WSJ. The ruling deals a "potentially fatal legal blow" to the deal, the WSJ said. After the Department of Justice sued to block the $34 billion merger last summer, the two health insurers said they would "vigorously" defend the deal and that "the facts do not support the basis for DOJ action." The New York Post reported last week that a federal judge is expected to block another merger between two other large health insurers, Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp. , and a decision is expected shortly. Aetna shares have risen 8.3% over the last three months, and Humana shares have risen 12.6%, compared with a 5.5% rise in the S&P 500 .

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