Vertical Health-Care Mergers Still in DOJ Crosshairs, Despite ‘Huge’ AT&T-Time Warner Loss

Posted by Health Care Blog

Vertical Health-Care Mergers Still in DOJ Crosshairs, Despite ‘Huge’ AT&T-Time Warner Loss

By Meg McEvoy

Judge Richard Leon’s opinion in the AT&T-Time Warner vertical merger case will likely be evaluated by antitrust attorneys for years, but what do lawyers think about it now?

My story after the decision talked about how it is likely to impact vertical health-care deals like CVS’s acquisition of Aetna and Cigna’s acquisition of Express Scripts. Essentially, the article explained that these transactions won’t get a free pass based on the court’s analysis of AT&T-Time Warner. Health-care and video content are very different markets. And AT&T-Time Warner was a “pure vertical” deal, with no elements of the merged businesses creating a concentration in an existing market. That, however, isn’t the case with the health-care mergers.

Still, there will be significant hurdles for regulators should they seek to bring another merger case in the health-care space based primarily on theories of harm caused by vertical acquisitions.

I interviewed Douglas C. Ross, a partner with Davis Wright Tremaine in Seattle about the AT&T-Time Warner opinion.

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