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Vertical Deals in Healthcare: Key Antitrust Takeaways for Private Equity Firms


As it continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare sector will face increased antitrust scrutiny from the Biden administration, with the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (the “DOJ”) (together the “Agencies”) as the Agencies ramp up their reviews not just of “horizontal” transactions ( i.e ., deals between competitors), but also of “vertical” transactions ( i.e ., deals that combine market participants at different levels of the healthcare industry, such as payors, hospitals, and physician practices).

Based upon our experience in the marketplace, we expect that private equity firms investing and operating in the healthcare space will encounter more antitrust scrutiny not just of roll-ups that combine physician groups or facilities operating in the same line of business into larger organizations, but also deals that combine payors, physicians, facilities, healthcare tech platforms, and other healthcare companies.

In anticipation of such scrutiny from the Agencies, private equity firms should keep in mind the following three key takeaways as they navigate an increasingly challenging antitrust enforcement landscape: Takeaway 1: More Scrutiny, Less Certainty

Government reviews of vertical deals involving private equity firms (and other players) will be more common, and such reviews will take longer […]

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