A Delaware judge has refused Anthem Inc.'s request to extend a temporary ban blocking Cigna Corp. from pulling out of proposed $48 billion merger while Anthem tries to persuade federal officials to drop their objections to the deal.
Thursday's ruling comes after a federal appeals court last month left in place a decision blocking Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem's bid to buy rival Cigna, saying a bigger company would not be better for consumers.
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That ruling followed a federal judge's February decision that the proposed acquisition would further reduce competition in the already concentrated health insurance market.
Anthem and Cigna also have been fighting in Delaware Chancery Court, where Cigna has sought a $1.85 billion termination fee from Anthem and billions more in damages.