FTC Blocks Anticompetitive Veterinary Clinic Acquisition

  • The FTC reached a settlement with JAB Consumer Partners, owner of Compassion-First Pet Hospitals and National Veterinary Associates, Inc., two firms that operate chains of veterinary clinics providing general, specialty, and emergency care, and SAGE Veterinary Partners, LLC to resolve allegations that JAB’s proposed $1.1 billion acquisition of SAGE would have significant anticompetitive impact in violation of the FTC Act and the Clayton Act.
  • The complaint alleges that under the terms of an Equity Purchase Agreement, Compassion-First/NVA’s proposed acquisition of SAGE—owner and operator of 16 veterinary clinics offering specialty and emergency care in Texas, California, Washington, and Alaska—would eliminate head-to-head competition between Compassion-First/NVA and SAGE in the provision of specialty and emergency veterinary services; increase the likelihood that Compassion-First/NVA could unilaterally exercise market power; and increase the likelihood that customers are forced to pay higher prices or experience a loss in the quality of the relevant services.
  • Under the terms of the Consent Agreement, after the acquisition is consummated, JAB will be required to divest six veterinary clinics in Texas and California to United Veterinary Care, LLC. JAB must also provide prior notice of and obtain FTC approval before acquiring a specialty or emergency veterinary clinic within 25 miles of clinics it owns in California or Texas.