Aetna-Humana clear big hurdle as California regulators OK $37-billion merger, but Anthem-Cigna deal stumbling

A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:56 p.m.

HUMANA: Regulators in the nation’s biggest insurance market, California, have signed off on Aetna’s $37 billion plan to buy Humana, saying yesterday the deal could move forward after Hartford-based Aetna agreed to invest $50 million in the state’s health-care infrastructure (Bloomberg). The companies have said they expect the deal to close in this year’s second half. In another big merger before regulators, Anthem and Cigna may find it impossible to divest themselves of large chunks of their health insurance businesses in order to overcome reported Justice Department antitrust concerns (Wall Street Journal). Meanwhile, Humana plans to move 1,000-1,200 employees to the Waterside and Clocktower buildings it owns downtown, from leased space at 12501 Lakefront Place in the Blankenbaker Station Business Park (Courier-JournalBusiness First and WDRB).

Papa John's logoPAPA JOHN’S ranked No. 2 among fast-food restaurants in the annual American Consumer Satisfaction Index survey with a score of 82 out of a possible 100, a 5% increase from 2015. No. 1 Chick-fil-A got 87 points, according to the survey results out today. KFC was No. 9 at 78, and Pizza Hut was No. 79 at 77 (CNN).

TACO BELL makes good on a promise to give away potentially millions of Locos Tacos today, in a promotion tied to the NBA championship finals, which ended yesterday with the Cleveland Cavaliers beating the Golden State Warriors (WISH).

GE: Rival LG’s home appliance division expects unit market share to grow 10% this year as the company chases growth in some of the world’s biggest markets: U.S., Australia, Europe and Asia (Channel News).

In other news, real income for the wealthiest 1% of Kentuckians rose 60.1% between 1979 and 2013, while dropping 2.6% for everyone else, according to a new Economic Policy Institute study that spotlights a worrisome years-long income inequality trend.

In the Louisville metro area, the richest 1% earned an average $721,000 vs. $45,857 for everyone else, ranking the area No. 413 out of 916 metro areas in the study. Lexington ranked significantly higher: 225, with the richest making $793,000 vs. $44,000 for the bottom 99%.

Nationwide, the richest earned an average $1.2 million vs. $45,567. Here are all the Kentucky figures (Economic Policy Institute).

And U.S. stocks closed slightly higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other major indices up less than 1%. The 10 big employers tracked in Boulevard’s Stock Portfolio ended the day mixed (Google Finance).

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