February 25, 2019 / 9:02 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. asks judge to give final approval to settlement with CVS to buy Aetna

FILE PHOTO: Logos of CVS and Aetna are displayed on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department formally asked a judge on Monday to approve its deal to allow CVS Health Corp to merge with insurer Aetna.

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia scolded the government and parties late last year for closing the $69 billion dollar merger before the consent order was approved by the court. In response, CVS offered to halt some integration of the two companies.

With the government’s request for final approval of the merger, Leon may sign off on the deal with no further ado or may decide to hold a hearing to allow critics to raise their concerns, said Andre Barlow of the law firm Doyle, Barlow and Mazard PLLC, an antitrust expert who has been following the case.

The Justice Department approved the merger of CVS, a U.S. pharmacy chain and benefits manager, and Aetna in October on condition that Aetna sell its Medicare prescription drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans Inc. Both deals have closed.

CVS declined comment for this story.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Peter Cooney

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