CVS-Aetna deal approved by all regulators

CVS Health received the final approval for its $69 billion merger with the nation’s third-largest health insurance provider, Aetna, on Nov. 26. CVS expects the deal to close Nov. 28, according to a new public filing.

The deal, which was announced at the end of 2017, brings together a major retail pharmacy chain and health insurer at a time when the U.S. healthcare space has been consolidating at a rapid clip.

The transaction faced numerous obstacles, including opposition from several industry groups and scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators. The Department of Justice approved the deal in October on the contingency that Aetna divest its Medicare Part D prescription drug business as part of the antitrust process. WellCare Health Plans agreed to acquire Aetna’s Part D division prior to the DOJ’s announcement.

CVS Health expects the combined entity will have more than $750 million in synergies within the first two years––above initial expectations––executives said during the company’s recent third-quarter earnings call with investors.

More recently, regulators in New York were still reviewing the case and taking a close look at CVS’ drug price swings, according to reports. New York was holding off on approving the deal as part of a negotiating tactic, according to an analysis by Leerink Partners.