The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions. The staff contacts are Dan Ducore, 202-326-2526 and Elizabeth Piotrowski, 202-326-2623.
Petitions to reopen and modify or set aside an order: The FTC has received petitions from the following entities seeking changes in, or termination of, FTC orders against them. The FTC is seeking public comment on the petitions for 30 days, until March 25.
- IVAX Corporation, of Miami, Florida, seeks modification of a 1995 consent order that settled FTC charges over IVAX's $593 million acquisition of Zenith Laboratories, Inc. The FTC had alleged the acquisition would lead to a monopoly in the U.S. market for a generic drug used to treat patients with chronic cardiac conditions. The requested modification would end IVAX's obligation to obtain FTC approval before acquiring any interest in any entity that manufactures, or is an exclusive distributor for another manufacturer of, extended-release generic verapamil in the United States (see March 30, 1995 news release regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3565).
- Sears, Roebuck and Co., based in Chicago, Illinois, has petitioned the FTC to reopen and set aside a 1977 consent order, arguing among other things that the order is "obsolete due to the immense changes in both the retail market and shopping center market." The order prohibits Sears from entering into agreements that restrict or prohibit competition from other retailers in shopping centers in which Sears has stores (Docket No. C-2885).
Commission action regarding petitions: Following public comment periods, the FTC has ruled on petitions from the following entities.
- The FTC has granted a petition from L'Air Liquide S.A., a French firm, to reopen and set aside a 1987 consent order. L'Air Liquide's only remaining obligation under the order was to obtain approval from the FTC before acquiring stock or assets of any U.S. merchant air separation gases producers. The order stemmed from L'Air Liquide's 1987 acquisition of Big Three Industries, Inc. (see Dec. 8, 1995 news release regarding the petition, Docket No: C-3216; Commission vote 5-0 on Feb. 15, 1996).
- The FTC has granted the amended petition of MTH Holdings, Inc., of New York City, to modify a 1989 consent order. The FTC action ends the company's obligation to obtain FTC approval before acquiring any grocery store in specified areas of Vermont and New York, but the modified order substitutes the prior-approval provision with a provision requiring MTH to give the FTC prior notice of such transactions. The 1989 order stemmed from MTH's acquisition of The Grand Union Company, and was designed to restore competition in 12 areas in New York and Vermont that allegedly was reduced by the acquisition (see July 13, 1989 news release regarding the consent order; Docket No. C- 3266).
Applications for prior approval of transactions: The FTC has received applications from the following entities seeking prior approval of transactions, as required by Commission orders. The FTC is seeking public comments on the application for 30 days, until March 25.
- Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation, of Nashville, Tennessee, has requested FTC approval to divest the Ville Platte Medical Center, located in Ville Platte, Louisiana, as well as related assets and businesses, to Ville Platte Medical Center, Inc., a nonprofit Louisiana corporation, and Hospital Service District No. 1 of Evangeline Parish. The divestiture is required under a 1995 consent order stemming from Columbia/HCA's merger with Healthtrust Inc., which is designed to maintain competition among hospitals in areas of Louisiana, Utah, Texas and Florida (see April 5, 1995 news release regarding the consent order; Docket No. 3619).
- American Home Products Corporation (AHP), of Madison, New Jersey, has applied for FTC approval to license American Cyanamid Company's human rotavirus vaccine research to Korea Green Cross Corporation, a Korean firm. The licensing is required by a 1995 consent order settling FTC charges that AHP's acquisition of Cyanamid would reduce competition for research for a vaccine to treat rotavirus, as well as competition for other vaccines. The licensing agreement is intended to restore competition (see Nov. 10, 1994 news release regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3557).
Commission action regarding applications for prior approval: Following a public comment period, the FTC has ruled on an application from the following entity for prior approval of a transaction.
- The FTC has approved the application of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation to divest Jordan Valley Hospital in West Jordan, Utah, to Champion Healthcare Corporation, of Houston, Texas. The divestiture is one of many required under a 1995 consent order stemming from Columbia/HCA's merger with Healthtrust Inc., which is designed to restore competition among hospitals in areas of Utah, Florida, Louisiana and California (see April 5, 1995 news release regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3619; Commission vote 5-0, on Feb. 15, 1996).
Comments on matters subject to public comment periods should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, same address as above; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov