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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Service Corporation International’s (SCI) acquisition of Stewart Enterprises, Inc. was anticompetitive in 29 local funeral services markets and 30 local cemetery markets throughout the United States.

According to the FTC’s complaint, first announced in December 2013, SCI’s proposed acquisition of Stewart would likely substantially reduce competition in a number of local markets identified by the agency. The complaint alleges that each of these local markets for funeral or cemetery services is highly concentrated and that the deal as proposed would eliminate direct and substantial competition between the two firms. The FTC contends that the proposed deal would enable the merged firm unilaterally to raise prices charged to consumers in these local markets and would substantially increase the risk of collusion between SCI and the few remaining competitors in the affected areas.

The final consent order settling the FTC’s charges requires that SCI sell certain funeral and cemetery assets. In total, the order requires the combined SCI/Stewart to divest 53 funeral homes and 38 cemeteries to ensure that competition is maintained in 59 communities throughout the United States.

The Commission vote approving the final order and the responses to the public comments received was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Terrell McSweeny not participating. (FTC File No. 131-0163, Docket No. 4423; the staff contact is Jill Frumin, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2758)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs