|Anthem-WellPoint Merger Gets Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Approval|
INDIANAPOLIS, and THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., March 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/
-- Anthem, Inc. (NYSE: ATH) and WellPoint Health Networks Inc. (NYSE: WLP), today announced that the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has granted unanimous approval of the transfer of WellPoint's Blue licenses in connection with the pending merger of the two companies.
This is another milestone in the completion of the transaction, which the companies continue to expect to close by mid-year.
The transaction is subject to approval by state regulatory agencies and the shareholders of both companies. Dates for the shareholder meetings have not yet been set.
Anthem, Inc. is an Indiana-domiciled publicly traded company that, through its subsidiary companies, provides health care benefits to more than 11.8 million people and specialty benefits to 12.1 million people. Anthem is the fifth largest publicly traded health benefits company in the United States and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross 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 immediate suburbs of Washington, D.C. Anthem had assets of $13.2 billion as of September 30, 2003 and full year 2002 revenue of $13.3 billion. More information about Anthem is available at www.anthem.com.
WellPoint serves the health care needs of more than 15 million medical members and approximately 46 million specialty members nationwide through Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, HealthLink and UNICARE. Visit WellPoint on the Web at www.wellpoint.com. Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross and 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 and WellPoint's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2003.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND WHERE TO FIND IT
Anthem has filed on November 26, 2003 a preliminary registration statement on Form S-4, including the preliminary joint proxy statement/prospectus constituting a part thereof, with the SEC in connection with Anthem's proposed merger with WellPoint. Anthem will file a final registration statement, including a definitive joint proxy statement/prospectus constituting a part thereof, and other documents with the SEC. 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 WILL BE PART OF THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT, BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED MERGER. The final joint proxy statement prospectus will be mailed 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, 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. Anthem's Current Report on Form 8-K, which was filed with the SEC on October 27, 2003, contains information regarding Anthem's participants and their interests in the solicitation. Information concerning WellPoint's participants is set forth in the proxy statement, dated March 31, 2003, for WellPoint's 2003 annual meeting of stockholders as filed with the SEC on Schedule 14A. 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.
SOURCE Anthem, Inc.; WellPoint Health Networks Inc. -0- 03/23/2004 /CONTACT: Tami Durle, Investor Relations, +1-317-488-6390, or Ed West, Media, +1-317-488-6100, both of Anthem; or John Cygul, Investor Relations, +1-805-557-6789, or Ken Ferber, Media, +1-805-557-6794, both of WellPoint/ /Web site: http://www.wellpoint.com / (ATH WLP) CO: Anthem, Inc., WellPoint Health Networks Inc. ST: Indiana, California IN: HEA INS MTC SU: TNM MP -- NYTU203 -- 8485 03/23/2004 19:56 EST http://www.prnewswire.com