Anthem Inc. has received permission from a key regulator to proceed with its $16 billion acquisition of a major unit of WellPoint Health Networks Inc.
California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has given Anthem, Indianapolis, permission to take control of WellPoints Blue Cross Life & Health subsidiary.
The ruling should clear the way for Anthem to acquire all of WellPoint through a merger.
Garamendi was responsible for approving a small but important part of the deal. WellPoint shareholders, Anthem shareholders, regulators in other states and another key California agency, the California Department of Managed Health Care, which regulates health maintenance organizations, already have approved the deal.
Anthem Chairman Larry Glasscock and WellPoint Chairman Leonard Schaeffer are welcoming Garamendis ruling.
“We now look forward to the successful completion of the merger,” Schaeffer says.
Blue Cross Life, one of WellPoints biggest subsidiaries, writes the health insurance that WellPoint sells in California.