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One judge says letting the deal proceed could save money. (Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday rejected Anthem Inc.’s proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp., upholding a trial judge’s decision to block the deal on the ground it would substantially reduce competition.

Anthem had argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that any anti-competitive problems with the deal would be outweighed by billions of dollars in savings that would be passed on to consumers. Anthem, represented by White & Case partner Christopher Curran, said the lower court had failed to give those savings — or “efficiencies,” as the lawyers referred to them — proper weight when she issued an injunction blocking the combination of the two health insurers.

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