CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo: Confident Aetna deal will close later this year

  • CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo expects to close the $69 billion deal to buy Aetna later this year.
  • The merger is currently making its way through the regulatory process.
  • Merlo also says he thinks the joint venture between Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway will be good for CVS.

CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo told CNBC on Thursday he's "excited" and confident about the drugstore chain's deal to merge with Aetna.

The $69 billion deal is currently making its way through the regulatory process.

"We're pleased with how that's all progressing, and we expect the transaction to close later this year," Merlo told CNBC's Bertha Coombs in an interview that aired on "Closing Bell."

CVS announced in December it was buying the health insurer, and in March shareholders from both companies approved the merger. The companies are now waiting for the Department of Justice to approve the deal.

The recent ruling by a federal judge allowing the merger between A&T and Time Warner is seen by many as a go-ahead on so-called vertical mergers. CVS Health was seen by Wall Street as a clear winner from that verdict earlier this month, with its shares jumping 3 percent on the news.

Amazon, JP Morgan & Berkshire Hathaway challenge

Meanwhile, the joint health-care venture between Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway is looking to disrupt the industry.

However, Merlo told CNBC he thinks that partnership will be good for CVS.

"We think that there's a lot of parallels in terms of what we're looking to do with CVS and Aetna coming together and what … they're planning to do in terms of this announcement," he said.

"We'll look forward to getting together at the appropriate time to compare notes and see how we might work together."

Earlier this week, CVS announced it will roll out delivery for prescription drugs — before Amazon, which has been eyeing the prescription drug market.

— CNBC's Angelica LaVito contributed to this report.