The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions. The FTC staff contact is Dan Ducore, 202-326-2526.
Applications for prior approval of transactions: The FTC has received an application for prior approval of a divestiture from the following. The application will be subject to public comment for 30 days, until Aug. 12.
- The Stop & Shop Companies, Inc., of Quincy, Massachusetts, has applied for FTC approval to divest a supermarket located at 240 East Ashland Street in Brockton, Massachusetts, to Capitol Food Corporation, parent company of Capitol Food Corporation of Brockton. The latter is based in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and currently operates one grocery store there. The divestiture is one of 17 required under a 1996 consent order designed to restore supermarket competition in five areas of Massachusetts that allegedly was lost when Stop & Shop acquired Purity Supreme, Inc. (See Nov. 1, 1995 news release regarding the 1996 consent order; Docket No. C-3649.)
Petitions to reopen and modify FTC orders: The FTC has received a petition from the following entity. The Commission is seeking public comments on it for 30 days, until Aug. 12.
- John E. Sailer, M.D., of Lafayette, California, has petitioned the FTC to reopen and modify a 1994 consent order so as to relieve him of his obligation to file annual reports with the Commission regarding his compliance. Sailer was a respondent along with 10 other physicians and their joint venture, Homecare Oxygen and Medical Equipment Company, of Concord, California, in an FTC antitrust case. The FTC alleged in the case (which was a companion to another case challenging a second joint venture on the same grounds) that the joint venture, because it included such a high percentage (60 percent) of the pulmonologists in the geographic area, allowed the specialists to gain market power over an ancillary service (the provision of oxygen to patients in their homes) and created a barrier against others who would offer that service, thereby reducing competition and risking higher consumer prices. Sailer now is retired and said he does not plan to acquire any interest in any medically related venture. (See Sept. 22, 1994 news release for more details regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3530.)
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final consent agreements with the following entities. The Commission action makes the orders binding on the respondents.
- The May Department Stores Company, of St. Louis, Missouri, settling charges in connection with the conversion of the charge card accounts of Thalhimer’s customers to Hecht’s accounts. The FTC had charged that the conversion process transferred obsolete derogatory information to the new accounts, led to the inaccurate reporting of payments and other negative data, and resulted in some cases of unwarranted collection efforts. The final order requires May Co. to cease all unwarranted collection activity related to the converted accounts, correct the inaccurate or obsolete data it sent to credit reporting agencies regarding the acquired accounts, and take steps to ensure that the information it maintains and reports on future acquired accounts is accurate. To settle a separate allegation in the same case, the order also prohibits May Co. from issuing credit cards to any person except in response to an oral or written request or application for a card, or as a renewal of or substitute for a card already accepted by the customer. (See April 18, 1996 news release for more details regarding the consent agreement; Docket No. C-3676; Commission vote on July 9 to issue the order in final form was 4-0, with Commissioner Roscoe B. Starek, III, recused.) The staff contact on this matter is David Medine, 202- 326-3025.
Comments on the application and petition 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, at the same address; 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