CVS, Aetna mega-merger to close after Thanksgiving

The nation’s largest retail pharmacy CVS said it now expects its $69 billion merger with health insurance giant Aetna to close after Thanksgiving, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

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CVS said it has received approval from 26 of the 28 state departments of insurance, and has made “significant progress” with the last two.

“CVS Health is confident that these remaining approvals will be secured. As a result, the acquisition is now expected to close after the Thanksgiving holiday,” the filing read.

Shares of both companies were trading lower on Tuesday – amid a larger selloff in stocks.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
CVSCVS HEALTH CORPORATION66.50+1.09+1.67%
AETAETNA INC.212.7+0.70+0.33%

Spokespeople for Aetna and CVS declined to comment beyond the filing.

Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) cleared the way for CVS and insurance giant Aetna to move forward with their massive $69 billion merger, which is expected to change the health care landscape.

Regulatory approval was conditional upon Aetna’s sale of its Medicare prescription drug plans to WellCare Health Plans, because otherwise the combination of the two companies’ Medicare Part D prescription drug services would be anticompetitive, according to the DOJ.

Aetna counts 23.1 million medical members, 14.5 million dental members and 15.2 million pharmacy benefit managers as customers, according to the company’s website. CVS is a pharmacy benefit manager with more than 9,700 location and $40 billion in specialty drug revenue.

Experts believe the acquisition of Aetna would give CVS better leverage in pricing discussions, which would be particularly valuable at a time when companies are inundated with public pressure to reduce costs. It could also usher more patients into its MinuteClinics for care.

CVS expects the deal to potentially save $750 million in the second full-year after it passes, the company said in a presentation last year.