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Report: Cigna, Anthem closer to a deal

HARTFORD, Conn. — An acquisition of Cigna by fellow health insurer Anthem appears to be coming together with issues over who will lead the company being resolved, CNBC reported Thursday, citing sources.

Indianapolis-based Anthem has made several offers for Cigna, based outside Hartford in Bloomfield, in recent months, most recently $184 a share, amounting to $47 billion.

But who would lead the combined company after the retirement of Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish had been a stumbling block. Cigna chief executive David Cordani insisted on an assurance that he would be the CEO in two years, according to a letter from Swedish to Cigna’s board, which Anthem released June 20.

Cigna declined to comment on the latest report, in which CNBC said the price is still being negotiated.

Last week’s announcement that Hartford-based Aetna Inc. would acquire rival Humana in a $37 billion deal intensified pressure on Cigna and other big health insurers to pair off.

Any deal will draw close scrutiny over antitrust concerns and there has been some speculation that the U.S. Department of Justice would examine the Aetna-Humana combination and a Cigna-Anthem deal together.

UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, also is said to be interested in a possible bid for Cigna, but that combination is less likely, CNBC said

How both the Aetna and Cigna deals will affect employment in the state remains unclear.

Anthem has a local subsidiary in Wallingford, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut. Cigna is headquartered in Bloomfield and employs about 4,200 in Connecticut.

Cigna shares were up 4 percent to $156 in early afternoon trading.

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