Analysis Group Supports Successful Merger Defense in UnitedHealth Group Bid to Acquire Change Healthcare

January 31, 2023

An Analysis Group team supported affiliated expert Catherine Tucker, who testified at trial on behalf of Hogan Lovells client UnitedHealth Group and its clearinghouse subsidiary OptumInsight in their successful response to the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) challenge of the proposed acquisition of Change Healthcare.

In US, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., the DOJ argued the tie-up would give UnitedHealth access to competitively sensitive information, allowing UnitedHealth to gain an unfair advantage, and ultimately creating a monopoly for first-pass claims editing technology, a critical product used to efficiently process health insurance claims.

In her testimony, Professor Tucker, the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management Science and Professor of Marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management, assessed the vertical economic and competitive ramifications of the merger, and refuted one of the DOJ’s main objections by demonstrating that Change’s data from competing health care providers was already available from other public sources.

Professor Tucker also rebutted one of the DOJ’s experts, testifying that the combined companies would have real-world business incentives to maintain corporate firewall policies around competitive information, and that, contrary to the opposing expert’s claims, it was not possible for machine learning to be used to “reverse engineer” or identify a rival’s policies, strategies, or how they processed claims.

Following a 12-day bench trial in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Carl J. Nichols dismissed the DOJ’s merger challenge, noting that their case “rests on speculation rather than real-world evidence that events are likely to unfold as the government predicts.”

An Analysis Group team led by Principal Mark Lewis, Vice President Emily Cotton, and Manager Philipp Tillmann provided analytical support to Professor Tucker.