Call it the blockbuster deal that never was. The Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 10 that The Cigna Group abandoned merger talks with Humana Inc., ending a multiweek stir over a report from the same publication that the companies were discussing a deal that would have created a $140 billion megainsurer. With the dust now settling, analysts and industry observers are speculating about what comes next for the two firms — with some suggesting that Cigna may eventually wind up back at the negotiating table.
Neither Cigna nor Humana ever officially confirmed their reported deal discussions. But on the same day that the WSJ reported Cigna was abandoning its pursuit of Humana, Cigna said its board of directors had approved an additional $10 billion in share repurchases. Cigna CEO David Cordani also issued a telling statement hinting at what might have derailed the merger talks — per the WSJ, the firms couldn’t agree on financial terms — and addressing the company’s merger and acquisition (M&A) strategy.