Tags: Express | Scripts | Medco | Deal

Express Scripts, Medco to Delay Closing $29 Billion Deal

Tuesday, 13 March 2012 11:40 AM

Pharmacy benefits managers Express Scripts and Medco will delay closing their $29 billion deal, giving antitrust regulators more time to finish assessing the deal, Medco said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The companies had said in February that they had complied with the Federal Trade Commission's requests for information about the deal.

Legally, this meant that the FTC had until Monday to decide whether to approve the proposed transaction or litigate to stop it.

But the companies said Monday that they would give the FTC more time. "Medco and Express Scripts continue to work with the FTC and expect that the mergers will be completed by the earlier part of the second quarter of 2012," Medco said in its filing.

It was not clear if a new deadline had been set.

Critics of the deal have said allowing the merger of two of the three largest pharmaceutical benefit managers would lead to higher prices and worse service for patients.

The extension could mean many things, said Michael Knight, an antitrust expert with Jones Day law firm.

"It's quite normal for parties to grant the FTC more time," he said. "It signals that they're still having some discussions but it's hard to read much more into it than beyond that."

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Tuesday, 13 March 2012 11:40 AM
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