Competition – news story

CMA considers undertakings in Acadia/Priory merger

The CMA is considering undertakings offered by Acadia to address competition concerns following its acquisition of Priory.

On 16 February 2016, Acadia Healthcare Company, Inc. (Acadia), through its subsidiary Partnerships in Care (PiC), acquired the entire issued shared capital of Priory Group No. 1 Ltd (Priory).

On 14 July 2016 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that this could lead to a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) in 21 overlaps across 5 mental healthcare services provided by both companies to NHS organisations and local authorities in England and Wales.

The CMA therefore said that the merger would be referred for an in-depth phase 2 investigation unless Acadia was able to offer undertakings which address the CMA’s competition concerns.

Acadia has now offered undertakings to address the CMA’s concerns by offering to sell either Priory or PiC hospitals in the affected areas to an up-front buyer, to be approved by the CMA.

The CMA considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the undertakings offered, or a modified version of them, might be acceptable and will formally consult on the undertakings shortly.

The CMA now has until 23 September 2016 to decide whether to accept Acadia’s proposed undertakings or refer the merger for a phase 2 investigation, with the possibility of extending this time frame to 18 November if needed.

Information relating to this investigation can be found on the case page.

Enquiries should be directed to Neil Kernohan (neil.kernohan@cma.gsi.gov.uk, 0203 738 6170).