Aetna shareholders approve Humana acquisition

99 per cent of Aetna shareholders have voted to approve issuing new shares to Humana stockholders following Aetna's acquisition of Humana.

Of all the shares tendered at yesterday's vote, 99 per cent voted in favour to the new issue, which will now be issued in accordance with the agreement and plan of merger dated 2 July, 2015.

The completion of the Humana transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval by Humana stockholders of the agreement and plan of merger, as well as the expiration of the federal Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust waiting period and approvals of state departments of insurance and other regulators.

The companies expect the deal to close in the second half of 2016, according to separate statements by the companies, yesterday.

In July, Aetna said it would buy Humana to emerge as the largest provider of Medicare plans for the elderly.

Three weeks later, rival Anthem Inc proposed acquiring Cigna Corp for about $47-billion in a deal that would make it the largest US health insurer by membership.

The proposed mergers come after implementation of president Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, the Affordable Care Act, which extended health insurance to millions of people.

According to insurers, joining forces would help them compete better as government tried to check healthcare spending.

However, according to commentators, the proposed deals would be closely scrutinised by federal antitrust authorities for potential harm to consumers.