Antitrust waiting period for WellPoint's NextRx sale expires

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 15, 2009

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The window of opportunity has closed for federal regulators with the Dept. of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to oppose the sale of WellPoint's pharmacy benefit manager NextRx to industry giant Express Scripts.

The legally mandated 30-day waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act gives time for regulators to examine proposed mergers and acquisitions and request more information if necessary. Neither the Justice Dept. or the FTC issued any concerns or tried to block the deal before the waiting period expired May 28.

In April, St. Louis-based Express Scripts announced it had agreed to buy NextRx for $4.7 billion. On June 2, Express Scripts announced that it would sell shares of its stock to raise between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion toward the purchase.

NextRx administers pharmacy benefits for 25 million people. Express Scripts does not release its membership figures, spokeswoman Maria Polumbo said in an e-mailed statement, but the company managed benefits for "tens of millions" of people, handling 750 million prescription claims ever year.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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