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June 01, 2020

FTC orders divestiture as Compassion-First acquires NVA

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The Federal Trade Commission in April ruled, by a vote of 5-0, that Compassion-First Pet Hospitals’ proposed $5 billion acquisition of National Veterinary Associates would violate federal antitrust law.

The FTC had earlier determined that Compassion-First’s acquisition would harm competition in three local geographic markets for various specialty and emergency veterinary services by eliminating close, head-to-head competition between Compassion First and NVA.

The acquisition as proposed would result in a monopoly in some markets, according to the FTC. Compassion-First’s acquisition of NVA would have increased the likelihood that Compassion-First could unilaterally raise prices or decrease quality for specialty and emergency veterinary services, the FTC found.

As a remedy to the acquisition’s anti-competitive effects, the commission ordered the two companies to divest three clinics to MedVet Associates LLC: NVA’s Referral and Emergency Animal Care Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina; Compassion-First’s Veterinary Care Center in Norwalk, Connecticut; and Compassion-First’s Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia in Manassas, Virginia.

Compassion-First and NVA agreed to the order, which was finalized by the FTC on April 9.

Headquartered in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, Compassion-First operates a network of dozens of pet hospitals in several states, primarily in urban and suburban areas. National Veterinary Associates is based in Agoura Hills, California, and owns more than 600 veterinary hospitals and boarding centers in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.