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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

FTC Sues Personal Fairness Agency and Anesthesiology Observe for Antitrust Violations

On September 21, 2023, the Federal Commerce Fee (FTC) sued Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) and U.S. Anesthesia Companions, Inc. (USAP), within the Southern District of Texas, alleging the 2 firms “[e]xecuted a multi-year anticompetitive scheme to consolidate anesthesiology practices in Texas, drive up the value of anesthesia providers supplied to Texas sufferers, and increase their very own income.”

In keeping with the FTC’s grievance, WCAS based USAP in 2012 to execute a method to consolidate hospital-based anesthesiology providers in Texas, together with by buying massive anesthesiology practices, coming into into price-setting agreements with impartial practices, and agreeing with a competitor to remain out of a USAP territory. Though WCAS owns lower than 25% of USAP right now, the FTC has sued the non-public fairness investor and alleged that the investor performed an instrumental function in growing USAP’s horizontal acquisition technique, significantly with respect to mergers and acquisitions of anesthesia practices in Texas.

Beneath the Biden administration, FTC and the Division of Justice, Antitrust Division (DOJ)(collectively, the Companies), have been centered on consolidation by non-public fairness, significantly with respect to “roll-ups,” that are serial acquisitions of supplier practices in the identical or adjoining geographic areas. 

The FTC’s motion is in keeping with the Companies’ continued concentrate on the healthcare trade and is the most recent in a string of enforcement actions and substantial adjustments to federal antitrust enforcement underneath the Biden Administration. Amongst different issues, the Companies have withdrawn many years of healthcare antitrust enforcement steerage, sought to ban worker non-competes, and proposed dramatic revisions to the present merger evaluation framework.

Personal fairness companies or different traders contemplating a roll-up technique ought to seek the advice of with counsel to know and navigate the present antitrust enforcement panorama.

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