Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Service Corporation International and Stewart Enterprises, Inc.; File No. 131-0163 #00048

Submission Number:
00048
Commenter:
Ann J. Banks
State:
Maryland
Initiative Name:
Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Service Corporation International and Stewart Enterprises, Inc.; File No. 131-0163
Dear Commissioners, I am writing to express my concerns about Service Corporation of America's (SCI) acquisition of Stewart Enterprises, specifically to warn that this would create a harmful monopoly situation for Jewish funeral services in the Washington, DC area. The FTC was correct in recognizing that the merger of SCI and Stewart would harm competition in the local, Jewish funeral market. However, the proposed remedy of requiring the divestiture of Edward Sagel Funeral Direction will not adequately protect competition in the market. Sagel is basically a storefront and lacks a chapel and adequate facilities to handle the deceased. It is wholly dependent on the SCI funeral home, Danzansky, for these services. Its market share has fallen from 25% to 11% in the last three years. If it is divested, it is highly unlikely to remain an effective competitor in the market. Moreover, with the control of both Danzansky and Hines Rinaldi, SCI will still have the incentive and ability to impair the important competition provided by the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington contract. I urge the Commission to revise the proposed consent decree and require the divestiture of Hines Rinaldi. Thank you, Ann J. Banks Bethesda, MD