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Change’s Controversial Acquisition by UnitedHealth

As per a new amendment on the existing agreement, UnitedHealth will take over the health IT vendor Change’s Healthcare somewhere around February at the earliest. The $13 billion acquisition could even close prior depending on the Department of Justice. The DOJ could drop in an investigation in which case the closure may get accelerated or get pushed ahead if the agency choses to challenge.

Several antitrust experts believe that the chances of the process getting delayed are relatively higher. This is mainly because of the growing pressure on regulators to scrutinize the boisterous consolidation in the healthcare industry. Additionally, the agency is also expected to probe the situation with the aggressive opposition to the deal from pharmacy groups and hospitals.

Current scenario represents the profound nature of the antitrust enforcers as they continue to become more and more aggressive, said David Balto, antitrust attorney. Balto also served as the former policy director at the Federal Commission. He added that the chances of them challenging the deal seem greater. UnitedHealth, and Change’s Healthcare have committed to an agreement with the DOJ withholding consummation of transaction until February 22. The agreement has marked a new deadline for DOJ to complete the probe which was first launched in late March.

The diversified healthcare giant entered the original agreement with the health IT company in August. The companies have agreed to not close the merger in compliance with the agreement with Department of Justice for at least a span for 120 days.

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