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.

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