NEW YORK—FTI Consulting has been retained by health insurance giant Cigna to provide counsel on the company’s proposed merger with pharmacy benefits management company Express Scripts—one of several healthcare mergers that would see greater vertical integration in the provider segment.

The proposal—which would see Cigna buy Express Scripts for $52 billion in cash and assume $15 billion in Express Scripts' debt—is expected to be a friendly deal. But some observers have questioned whether the deal will deliver any benefits to consumers, and Cigna’s most recent proposed merger, with Anthem—the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association licensee in 14 states—fell apart earlier this year.

Elsewhere in the healthcare space, Cigna competitor Aetna has agreed to an acquisition by pharmacy chain CVS for $69 billion. Aetna also called off a planned merger, with rival Humana, last year after it became clear that the Department of Justice was scrutinizing the deal. The current mergers are less likely to raise anti-trust concerns.

FTI would neither confirm nor deny that it was working on the deal.