Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Service Corporation International and Stewart Enterprises, Inc.; File No. 131-0163
I am writing to express my concern about the FTC's decision to allow SCI to retain control of Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home, currently owned by Stewart Enterprises. This decision will have a direct negative effect on the market for Jewish funerals in the Washington metropolitan area. While the agreement does call for SCI to sell Edward Sagel Funeral Direction, that will not accomplish the purported goal of retaining competition in the market. Sagel controls only about 11 percent of the Jewish funeral market, and currently charges more than two and a half times what Hines-Rinaldi charges for a funeral carried out in accordance with Jewish practices. Once SCI controls Hines-Rinaldi, the price for a Jewish funeral will inevitably increase, leaving no incentive for the other actors in the market to keep their prices low. The result will be greater cost to consumers, which is surely not the intent of the FTC. I urge you to reconsider this decision, and to order that SCI sell Hines-Rinaldi as part of this merger.