FTC Extends Time for Service Corporation International to Complete Required Divestiture; Commission Approves Federal Register Notice on Postal Service Study

For Your Information

Commission approval of time extension: In the matter of Service Corporation International (SCI) and Alderwoods Group, by a vote of 5-0, the Commission has extended the time period for SCI to complete a divestiture required under an order entered by the Commission in December 2006 modifying a 1999 consent order. Accordingly, SCI will have an additional 90 days to divest three funeral homes it has obtained under foreclosure proceedings. Pursuant to the order, the homes will be maintained separately and divested by the appointed trustee. (FTC Docket No. C-3869; the staff contact is Elizabeth A. Piotrowski, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2623; see press release dated December 26, 2006.)

Commission approval of Federal Register notice: The Commission has approved the publication of a Federal Register notice regarding the agency’s study of federal and state laws that apply differently to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) with respect to the competitive category of mail and to private companies providing similar products. As described in the notice, which will be published soon and can be found now as a link to this press release on the FTC’s Web site, on December 20, 2006, the President signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) into law. The Act requires the FTC to prepare and submit a study, designed to further the Act’s goal of increasing competition and efficiency in the provision of mail services.

The Commission accordingly is seeking public comments on a range of issues, including, but not limited to: 1) the federal, state, and local laws, regulations and ordinances private competitors must comply with, with respect to “competitive products,” which are identified as priority mail, expedited mail, bulk parcel post, bulk international mail, and mailgrams; 2) the benefits the USPS derives in providing competitive services, from its legal monopolies over letter delivery and mailboxes; 3) any legal requirements that provide benefits to the USPS that are not available to its private competitors; and 4) specific legal requirements that the USPS has to comply with, but that its competitors do not, or any other legal constraints on the USPS’ operations that affect its costs. The notice provides information on when comments are due and how they can be submitted to the Commission.

The Commission vote approving publication of Federal Register notice was 5-0. (FTC File No. P071200; the staff contact is James Cooper, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326- 3367.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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