Federal judge voices concerns about DOJ approval of CVS-Aetna deal

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who has been tasked with signing off on the federal government's decision to approve CVS Health's acquisition of Aetna, indicated on Monday he may ask the two companies to halt integration pending his decision.

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who has been tasked with signing off on the federal government's decision to approve CVS Health's acquisition of Aetna, indicated on Monday he may ask the two companies to halt integration pending his decision. Leon complained at a recent hearing that CVS and Aetna had been treating him as a "rubber stamp" for the $69 billion mega-deal. CVS closed the transaction a week ago and began the integration process. Leon said at a hearing on Monday that he would issue an order asking the two sides to argue why he should not require CVS and Aetna to be held separate until he decides whether he will approve the consent agreement reached in October between the companies and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Leon expressed concerns Monday that the DOJ had not adequately addressed the potential competitive harms raised by the merger. The judge remarked, "I am concerned that your complaint raises anti-competitive concerns about one-tenth of 1% of this $69 billion deal."