The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions. The FTC staff contact is Dan Ducore, 202-326-2526.
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 May 28.
- Healthsouth Rehabilitation Corporation, a Delaware Corporation, has petitioned the Commission to modify a consent order that settled charges that its $180 million merger with Realife, Inc. would violate antitrust laws and could raise prices or reduce services at rehabilitation hospital facilities in Birmingham, Alabama; Charleston, South Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee. In June 1995 the Commission announced that it would no longer routinely require prior approval provisions in orders stemming from merger cases and that it presumes the public interest requires reopening such provisions in outstanding merger orders and making them consistent with that policy. Healthsouth requests that the Commission delete the provision in its order that requires prior Commission approval of mergers or joint ventures in the relevant geographic areas. Alternatively, it requests that prior notification be substituted for prior approval (see April 17,1995 news release regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3570).
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final a consent agreement with the following. The Commission action makes the order binding on the respondent.
- The Loewen Group International Inc., a Covington, Kentucky-based wholly-owned subsidiary of The Loewen Group Inc., based in Burnaby, British Columbia, settling charges that its acquisition of funeral homes in certain areas of Texas and its proposed acquisition of a chain of funeral homes in the tri-state area of Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina would reduce competition and violate antitrust laws. In two final orders to settle the charges, Loewen is required to divest one of three funeral homes in Brownsville and either a home in San Benito, Texas or two smaller funeral homes in Harlingen, Texas, within 12 months to FTC approved acquirers. Loewen also is required to divest a funeral home in Castlewood, Virginia within nine months after it completes the acquisition. Loewen is required to maintain the viability and marketability of the properties until the divestitures are completed. In addition, Loewen would be required, for ten years, to give prior notice to the FTC before acquiring the assets of or any interest in a funeral home in Cameron County, Texas or Russell County, Virginia. (see May 14,1996 news release for more details regarding the consent agreements; FTC File Nos: 931-0052 (Texas) 931 0084 (Virginia); Commission vote on July 29, 1996 to issue the order in final form was 4-0, with Chairman Robert Pitofsky recused.) The staff contact on this matter is Thomas B. Carter, Gary D. Kennedy or James R. Golder, Dallas Regional Office, 214-767-5503.
Comments on the Healthsouth 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