Sep 19, 2022 - Health

UnitedHealth beats Justice Dept on $13 billion merger

Illustration of train car silhouettes connected by red crosses.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

UnitedHealth Group's $13 billion acquisition of Change Healthcare will proceed, after a federal judge on Monday denied the Justice Department's efforts to block the deal on antitrust grounds.

Why it matters: This is a huge win for UnitedHealth and perhaps an even bigger loss for the Biden administration.

Details: Judge Carl J. Nichols also ordered UnitedHealth to divest payment integrity group ClaimsXten to TPG Capital for $2.2 billion in cash, as the company previously agreed to do.

Catch up quick: Regulators in February concluded that UnitedHealth's purchase of Change was anti-competitive, setting the stage for a several-day trial in August.

  • The DOJ alleged that the deal would give UHG access to its rival health insurers’ competitively sensitive data, plus unfair access to any future innovation by Change.

Context: UnitedHealth has long been known as an aggressive buyer, but its M&A spree accelerated in 2022.

đź’­ Our thought bubble: While this is a clear victory for UnitedHealth, it did take nearly two years to get there. If you're another multi-billion-dollar health care company looking to get bought (like Cano Health, perhaps), do you really want to wait that long to get your deal done? Depends on the price.

Go deeper