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Justice Department requests more information on CVS-Aetna merger

  • Trump administration regulators are not ready to sign off on CVS Health's $69 billion deal to acquire Aetna.
  • The Department of Justice asked the firms to provide more information on Thursday, just as the 30 day waiting period under Hart Scott Rodino Act expired.
  • So far, the Trump administration has shown it's not receptive to vertical integration deals.
Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS and Mark Bertolini, CEO of AETNA appear on Squawk Box on Dec. 4th, 2017.
Cameron Costa | CNBC
Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS and Mark Bertolini, CEO of AETNA appear on Squawk Box on Dec. 4th, 2017.

Trump administration regulators are not ready to sign off on CVS Health's $69 billion deal to acquire Aetna. The Department of Justice asked the firms to provide more information on Thursday, just as the 30 day waiting period under Hart Scott Rodino Act expired.

"CVS Health and Aetna have been cooperating with the DOJ staff since shortly after the announcement of the Merger Agreement and are continuing to cooperate with the DOJ staff in its review of the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement," the firms said in an SEC regulatory filing.

CVS aims to merge with Aetna to create an integrated health system combines pharmacy and health benefits, and delivers preventive care services through the drugstore chain's retail clinics. It would mark a major effort at vertical consolidation in health care.

The Obama administration opposed major horizontal mergers by health insurers over the last couple of years, blocking Aetna's proposed deal to acquire rival Humana and Anthem's bid to buy Cigna.

So far, the Trump administration has shown it's not receptive to vertical integration deals. Last fall, the justice department moved to block AT&T's bid to acquire Time Warner.That trail in that case is set to start on March 19th.

The DOJ's second notice request extends the waiting period on the CVS-Aetna deal for another 30 days. In the meantime, the firms have scheduled shareholder votes to approve the deal for March 20th.