Blackstone Group / Southern Cross Healthcare Holdings Ltd

OFT closed case: Completed acquisition by the Blackstone Group of Southern Cross Healthcare Holdings limited.

Affected market: Residential and nursing care.

No. ME/1480/05

The OFT's decision on reference under section 22 of the Enterprise Act 2002 given on 14 January 2005


The Blackstone Group (Blackstone) is a private merchant banking firm, based in New York, holding investments in a variety of companies and properties.  Southern Cross Healthcare Holdings Limited (Southern Cross) is a provider of long-term residential and nursing care for the elderly.  Southern Cross' UK turnover for the financial year ending 31 March 2004 was £157.8 million. 


Blackstone acquired Southern Cross on 15 September 2004 (the transaction being announced the following day).  The statutory deadline for the consideration of this merger expires on 15 January 2005.  The OFT's administrative deadline for consideration expires after this date.


As a result of this transaction Blackstone and Southern Cross have ceased to be distinct.  The UK turnover of Southern Cross exceeds £70 million, so the turnover test in section 23(1)(b) of the Enterprise Act 2002 (the Act) is satisfied.  The OFT therefore believes that it is the case that a relevant merger situation has been created. 


The parties do not overlap in the supply of any good or service.


No third party expressed concerns.


No overlaps or vertical issues are created by this merger.  Consequently, the OFT does not believe that it is or may be the case that the merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom.


This merger will therefore not be referred to the Competition Commission under section 22(1) of the Act.

Published 14 January 2005