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Ninth Circuit Affirms FTC’s Win in Challenge to Hospital’s Acquisition of Physician Group; Voices Skepticism of Merger-Related Efficiency Claims

On February 10, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s decision that St. Luke’s Health System’s acquisition of the Saltzer Medical Group was anticompetitive, handing the FTC another in a string of wins in challenges to health provider mergers. While the decision provides a number of key insights into the competitive effects analysis of health provider transactions, the decision has broader implications for merger-related efficiency claims and the importance of agency-issued Guidelines in litigated matters.