It makes you wonder how far behind a potential blockage of the Medco Health Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MHS) and Express Scripts Inc. (NASDAQ: ESRX) merger is. Express Scripts is the would-be acquirer and the deal has been heavily criticized by many watch groups and we have noted how wide the merger-arbitrage spread is. The blocked AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) acquisition of T-Mobile started (or added to) much of the blocking concerns from investors.
The FTC issued a complaint to block the hostile acquisition of the rival long-term care pharmacy provider alleging that this combination of the two largest U.S. long-term care pharmacies would harm competition and also because the merger would allow Omnicare to raise the price of drugs for Medicare Part D consumers and others. As noted (full release):
“If Omnicare is allowed to purchase its biggest and only national competitor, it will diminish competition and raise health care costs – leaving taxpayers and patients to foot the bill,” said Richard Feinstein, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “The Bureau will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent these sorts of anticompetitive deals.”
JON C. OGG