Earlier this week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice released revised horizontal merger guidelines, designed to help businesses understand how agencies will evaluate the competitive impact of proposed mergers. The guidelines—which hadn’t been revised in 18 years—don’t just apply to healthcare, but will impact hospital mergers and acquisitions going forward.
The revisions include explanations of how agencies set concentration thresholds and measure the impact of a merger, as well as new sections on powerful buyers and partial acquisitions.
It’s unlikely that the added attention will grow intense enough to stop the merger and acquisition trend. The conditions for consolidation were after all created in part by the federal government, which encourages the efficiency and integration that can result from the right type of consolidation.
But as M&A activity picks up, so will the scrutiny from those who want to make sure the deals don’t add even more to the cost of healthcare.