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Anthem/Cigna damages trial reveals infighting

Anthem officials told a judge on Monday that their counterparts at Cigna sabotaged the $48.9 billion merger deal, even refusing to divest business lines that would have won them approval by regulators.

Thomas Zielinski, Anthem’s top lawyer, testified that Cigna CEO David Cordani was unhappy with his role in the combined company. Then-Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish had made an offer that placed him as the sole CEO post-merger.

Anthem, which was looking to acquire Cigna more nearly five years ago, is seeking more than $16 billion in damages and termination fees. Zielinski told Delaware Chancery Court Judge Travis Laster that Anthem is owed $20 billion in damages because Cigna refused to turn over information to federal regulators to help move the deal along.

A judge blocked the merger, calling it anticompetitive. An appeals court upheld the ruling.

Zielinski told the judge during Monday’s opening arguments that Cigna officials did not want to sell off their assets because they didn’t see “a credible path” to addressing regulators’ concerns.

Cigna has filed claims alleging Anthem stole confidential information during the merger discussions. Cigna is looking to recuperate $14.7 billion in damages to their shareholders based on the stock premium they would have received had the deal closed. The insurer also wants Anthem to pay a $1.85 billion termination fee.