The Federal Trade Commission has voted unanimously to dismiss its administrative complaint challenging Steris Corporation’s proposed $1.9 billion acquisition of Synergy Health plc. The FTC had filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking an injunction to prevent the acquisition from going forward pending the outcome of administrative litigation, but the court denied the motion, and the Commission did not appeal that decision.
“Although we still have competitive concerns about this acquisition, we have concluded that further adjudication would not serve the public interest,” the Commission wrote in a statement. The Commission cited the fact that “the district court’s denial of preliminary relief would render it difficult for us to craft meaningful relief were we to find the merger unlawful at the conclusion of the administrative proceeding.”
Both the federal court complaint and the administrative complaint alleged that the challenged acquisition would violate the antitrust laws by eliminating the likely future competition between Steris’s gamma sterilization facilities and Synergy’s planned x-ray sterilization facilities in certain regional markets in the United States, thus depriving customers of an alternative sterilization service and additional competition.
The Commission vote to approve the Commission statement and dismiss the administrative complaint was 4-0. (FTC File No. 151 0032; the staff contact is Amy Posner, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2614)
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