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Judge Dismisses Antitrust Suit Against Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe

 |  May 14, 2024
A federal judge in Texas has dismissed an antitrust lawsuit against Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe (WCAS), according to Axios. The suit, filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last year, alleged that WCAS and one of its portfolio companies engaged in anti-competitive practices, driving up prices of anesthesiology services in Texas.

The FTC claimed that WCAS and US Anesthesia Partners (USAP) had acquired the majority of large anesthesia practices in Texas, consolidating the market and violating U.S. antitrust laws. These allegations included forging price-setting agreements with independent providers, effectively suppressing competition.

In response, Welsh Carson’s legal team argued that the FTC’s complaint targeted “mere investors” and challenged established corporate law principles. They maintained that the firm’s actions were consistent with typical private equity practices, involving advisory support and financial oversight.

USAP, established in Texas in 2012, has expanded its operations to eight states. The FTC accused Welsh Carson of orchestrating a “roll-up scheme,” consolidating multiple anesthesia practices into a single entity through acquisitions.

FTC Chair Lina Khan condemned what she described as unlawful tactics, accusing USAP and Welsh Carson of exploiting their market position to increase anesthesia service prices. She emphasized the detrimental impact on Texas patients and businesses, alleging that these maneuvers had resulted in substantial financial gains for company executives.

The dismissal of the antitrust suit marks a significant victory for WCAS and the private equity sector.

Source: Axios