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CVS and Aetna are gaining ground after their $69 billion merger gets the green light (CVS, AET)

CVS Health President and CEO Larry J. Merlo gives an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange September 3, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

  • CVS and Aetna received regulatory approval for their $69 billion merger — with some conditions. 
  • Stocks were down sharply on Wednesday, but shares of both companies were higher.
  • The merger remains on track to close in the early part of the fourth quarter, according to CVS.
  • Watch CVS and Aetna trade in real time here.

Stocks were down sharply on Wednesday, but CVS and Aetna provided a rare bright spot. Both stocks were higher after the companies received regulatory approval for their $69 billion merger. CVS was up 0.9% and Aetna was higher by 1.3%.

CVS announced Wednesday that it has entered into an agreement with the US Department of Justice that allows it to proceed with its proposed acquisition of Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurance company, on the condition that Aetna sells off its Medicare Part D prescription-drug business.

The merger remains on track to close in the early part of the fourth quarter, according to CVS. Aetna will operate as a standalone business within the CVS Health enterprise and will be led by members of its current management team after the close of the transition.

"DOJ clearance is an important step toward bringing together the strengths and capabilities of our two companies to improve the consumer health care experience," CVS CEO Larry Merloin said in the press release.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the DOJ that maintains the strategic benefits and value creation potential of our combination with Aetna. We are now working to complete the remaining state reviews."

CVS was up 9% this year and Aetna was higher by 14%.

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