From the very start, Cigna has been cautious about regulatory hurdles that could pose a roadblock to its acquisition by Anthem. Eight months after contentious negotiations that resulted in a $54 billion merger deal, Cigna warned investors for the approval process could now drag on into next year.
"While the company continues to work toward achieving regulatory approval as quickly as possible and to target a closing date in the second half of 2016, the closing will ultimately be subject to the approval and timing of the regulators," the firm said in its first-quarter earnings report, adding for the first time that the regulatory review could now drag on into 2017.
"In light of the complexity of the regulatory process and the dynamic environment, it is possible that such approvals may not be obtained in 2016," the company said in its regulatory earnings filings.
Cigna shares fell more than 2 percent on Friday, despite the fact that the nation's fifth-largest insurer reported earnings of $2.32 per share, 16 cents above the analyst consensus estimate. The company had previously forecast 2016 earnings between $8.85 and $9.25 per share. It now sees earnings between $8.95 to $9.35 per share.