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November 27, 2018updated 28 Nov 2018 5:12am

CVS-Aetna $69bn merger clears final hurdle with New York DFS approval

CVS Health and Aetna have secured permission from the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) to complete their $69bn merger.

Now the CVS-Aetna merger is expected to complete by 28 November.  New York DFS was final regulatory hurdle needed to conclude the merger of the two US pharmacy chain and health insurance giants.

The DFS gave its nod after CVS and Aetna agreed for enhanced consumer and health insurance rate protections, privacy controls, cybersecurity compliance, and a $40m commitment to support health insurance education and enrolment and other consumer health protections.

New York DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo said: “DFS listened to the concerns of the public and has obtained significant commitments from CVS and Aetna to address those concerns, ensuring that the companies hold to their promises of reduced costs and improved health care for New Yorkers, not pass on the costs of this acquisition to New Yorkers, enhance data privacy, and not act in an anti-competitive manner going forward.

“With this conditional approval, DFS continues its strong commitment to ensuring that New Yorkers have quality, affordable health care and an insurance market that protects consumers.  DFS will use its full regulatory authority to ensure that the companies adhere to these robust commitments and that both CVS and Aetna are held accountable for promises made to New Yorkers.”

Earlier in October, the New York DFS warned that it will block CVS Health and Aetna’s merger over concerns that the deal might make insurance products costlier for millions of New York residents.

During the same month, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) granted approval for CVS Health and Aetna deal.

The merger, which will combine CVS’ drugstores and pharmacy benefits manager platform with Aetna’s insurance business secured shareholders’ nod in March this year.

CVS and Aetna first announced the cash-stock merger deal in December last year.

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