|Anthem, WellPoint Merger Reaffirmed by Leading Shareholder Research Organization|
INDIANAPOLIS and THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., June 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has reaffirmed its support for the pending merger between Anthem, Inc. (NYSE: ATH) and WellPoint Health Networks Inc. (NYSE: WLP). This is the second positive report on the merger that ISS has issued.
"We are clearly pleased that ISS has once again issued a report in support of our pending merger with WellPoint," said Larry C. Glasscock, Anthem's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "This merger is an investment on behalf of our members. It brings together unprecedented resources to drive innovation in health benefits and improved health for our members, while producing significant cost savings from operational efficiencies."
As reported by the Dow Jones Newswire, the latest ISS report stated, "At the end of the day, we continue to believe that all of the positive factors of the proposed WellPoint-Anthem combination continue to tip the scales in favor of approving the merger."
Anthem and WellPoint shareholders will vote on the proposed merger in separate meetings on June 28. The companies continue to expect to complete the merger mid year.
Anthem's mission is to improve the health of the people it serves. Anthem, Inc. is an Indiana-domiciled publicly traded company that, through its subsidiary companies, provides health care benefits to more than 12.5 million people. Anthem is the fourth largest publicly traded health benefits company in the United States and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem is the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Maine and Virginia, excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. More information about Anthem is available at http://www.anthem.com .
WellPoint Health Networks Inc. serves the health care needs of more than 15.3 million medical members and approximately 46 million specialty members nationwide through Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, HealthLink and UNICARE. Visit WellPoint on the web at http://www.wellpoint.com . Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995
This document contains certain forward-looking information about Anthem, Inc. ("Anthem"), WellPoint Health Networks Inc. ("WellPoint") and the combined company after completion of the proposed transactions that are intended to be covered by the safe harbor for "forward-looking statements" provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. Words such as "expect(s)", "feel(s)", "believe(s)", "will", "may", "anticipate(s)" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions; statements regarding plans, objectives and expectations with respect to future operations, products and services; and statements regarding future performance. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Anthem and WellPoint, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include: those discussed and identified in public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") made by Anthem and WellPoint; trends in health care costs and utilization rates; our ability to secure sufficient premium rate increases; competitor pricing below market trends of increasing costs; increased government regulation of health benefits and managed care; significant acquisitions or divestitures by major competitors; introduction and utilization of new prescription drugs and technology; a downgrade in our financial strength ratings; litigation targeted at health benefits companies; our ability to contract with providers consistent with past practice; our ability to consummate Anthem's merger with WellPoint, to achieve expected synergies and operating efficiencies in the merger within the expected time-frames or at all and to successfully integrate our operations; such integration may be more difficult, time-consuming or costly than expected; revenues following the transaction may be lower than expected; operating costs, customer loss and business disruption, including, without limitation, difficulties in maintaining relationships with employees, customers, clients or suppliers, may be greater than expected following the transaction; the regulatory approvals required for the transaction may not be obtained on the terms expected or on the anticipated schedule; our ability to meet expectations regarding the timing, completion and accounting and tax treatments of the transaction and the value of the transaction consideration; future bio-terrorist activity or other potential public health epidemics; and general economic downturns. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof. Neither Anthem nor WellPoint undertakes any obligation to republish revised forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Readers are also urged to carefully review and consider the various disclosures in Anthem's and WellPoint's various SEC reports, including but not limited to the Anthem's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2003, WellPoint's Annual Report on form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2003 as amended by Amendment No. 1 on Form 10-K/A and Anthem's and WellPoint's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2004.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND WHERE TO FIND IT
Anthem has filed on May 11, 2004 Amendment No. 1 to its registration statement on Form S-4, including the joint proxy statement/prospectus constituting a part thereof, with the SEC in connection with Anthem's proposed merger with WellPoint. SHAREHOLDERS OF ANTHEM AND STOCKHOLDERS OF WELLPOINT ARE ENCOURAGED TO READ THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC, INCLUDING THE JOINT PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS THAT IS PART OF THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT, BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED MERGER. The definitive joint proxy statement prospectus were mailed on or about May 20, 2004 to shareholders of Anthem and stockholders of WellPoint. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain the documents free of charge at the SEC's web site, http://www.sec.gov , from Anthem Investor Relations at 120 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204-4903, or from WellPoint Investor Relations at 1 WellPoint Way, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362.
PARTICIPANTS IN SOLICITATION
Anthem, WellPoint and their directors and executive officers and other members of their management and employees may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the proposed transaction. Information concerning Anthem's participants is set forth in the proxy statement, dated April 16, 2004, for Anthem's 2004 annual meeting of shareholders as filed with the SEC on Schedule 14A. Information concerning WellPoint's participants is set forth in the Amendment No. 1 on Form 10-K/A filed with the SEC by WellPoint on April 29, 2004. Additional information regarding the interests of Anthem's and WellPoint's participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the proposed transaction is included in the registration statement and joint proxy statement/prospectus filed with the SEC.
CONTACT: Anthem: Investor Relations: Tami Durle, +1-317-488-6390, Media: Ed West, +1-317-488-6100; or WellPoint: Investor Relations: John Cygul, +1-805-557-6789, Media: Ken Ferber, +1-805-557-6794