Anthem won a court ruling temporarily blocking Cigna from scuttling a $48 billion merger between the health insurers.

Delaware Chancery Court Judge Travis Laster concluded Wednesday that Cigna executives couldn’t summarily pull out of the combination after a federal judge last week blocked the merger of the insurers as anti-competitive. He found a temporary ban would protect the “legal status quo” of the deal until he could weigh arguments over the faltering merger at an April 10 hearing.

The ruling is the latest twist in what promises to be a fierce legal battle over the deal’s failure. Cigna on Tuesday told Anthem it was terminating the merger agreement and filed a lawsuit in Delaware seeking a $1.85 billion break-up fee and $13 billion in damages from Anthem. That prompted the countersuit from Anthem in the same court to keep the merger alive.

With Cigna prevented from terminating the deal, Anthem is free to pursue an appeal in federal court in Washington seeking to overturn a Feb. 8 order that the merger of the insurers would threaten competition and should be stopped. Anthem wants a fast-track review by the appeals court so it can get a decision by an April 30 deal deadline.

Cigna’s attempts to immediately abandon the deal threatened Anthem with significant harm through “the loss of a major transaction,” Laster said in a telephonic hearing. He added that Cigna’s announcement that it was reneging on the deal “has real-world consequences.”

Anthem and Cigna didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The Anthem-Cigna merger is one of two insurer tie-ups that were blocked following challenges by the Justice Department last year. The other – between Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. – was abandoned by the companies on Tuesday after they decided against an appeal.

The Justice Department’s antitrust division sued in July 2016 to block the Anthem-Cigna tie-up, saying the combination would further consolidate an already concentrated market, leading to higher costs for employers who buy insurance plans from the companies for their workers.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson backed the government’s position last week. She also noted that the deal was riven with discord between the two companies, which she said undermined their justification for the combination.

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