Cigna Corp. shareholders on Friday voted in favor of the health insurer’s proposed $52 billion acquisition of pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co., although the deal still needs clearance from antitrust authorities.
The vote in favor of the merger was on expected lines after activist investor Carl Icahn walked away last week from his 11th-hour attempt to rally shareholders to reject the deal.
The US Department of Justice is still conducting an antitrust review of the unexpected combination of closing down until the end of this year.
According to preliminary results, health insurance indicated that 90 percent of the votes were in favor of the merger.
Cigna expects the merger process to close by the end of 2018.
The insurance company agreed to purchase Express Scripts in March, saying that if the two companies are better coordinated with prescription medical care, they can save more money on health care for customers.
Since then, however, Express Scripts has become a tougher opposition as a means of increasing drug costs from Trump management, lawmakers and drug makers. Icahn claimed that Cigna surpasses expectations given for diminishing profits.
The shareholder advisory groups have stepped back after recommending shareholders to vote on this deal.
Express Scripts shareholders also approved the deal, and 78 percent of Express Scripts shares voted for the deal.
Cigna’s acquisition plan faces opposition from Express Scripts’ big rival CVS Health and Aetna Inc’s own merger. Last year when Cigna could not go through the antitrust review, it was decided to buy Anthem Inc.
Cigna shares fell 0.10%, while Express Scripts gained 0.47%.
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