Humana, Aetna reportedly still talking with DOJ to overcome deal opposition; Papa John’s sued over IT exec it poached from Panera Bread

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 5:59 p.m.

HUMANA and Aetna remained in discussions with the Department of Justice today, trying to convince antitrust regulators their $37 billion merger will be good for seniors in the Medicare Advantage market, CNBC is now reporting.

Humana logoBut the two insurance giants are prepared to fight in court if their deal is blocked, a move DOJ antitrust regulators could take within just days, according to the business news cable channel, which is citing people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations. “The insurers have offered up divestitures and secured buyers,” according to CNBC, “with contracts ready to be signed, for assets in local markets where their coverage overlaps, according to one source. But so far, the DOJ has not been convinced by the offer” (CNBC).

Aetna logoReflecting renewed investor optimism, Humana shares climbed 3% today, closing at $158.41 a share, up $4.77; shares had fallen 10% yesterday on initial reports the DOJ was moving to block the deal. Aetna’s stock rose 1.2%, to $116.49 (Google Finance).

To secure shareholder approval of the deal, Humana’s proxy solicitor, D.F. King & Co., made more than 40,000 phone calls to individual investors last fall (Wall Street Journal).

PAPA JOHN’S: Panera Bread Co. has filed a lawsuit claiming a former technology executive who left to work for Papa John’s took trade secrets with him. The suit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis against Papa John’s and the executive, Michael Nettles, says he worked four years as a vice president in Panera’s IT department, with access to highly sensitive trade secrets, and that his move to Papa John’s violates a confidentiality and non-compete agreement. Nettles joined Papa John’s on Monday. Panera is based in suburban St. Louis (Post-Dispatch).

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