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New Jersey health systems cancel merger

Two New Jersey health systems — Saint Peter's Healthcare System and RWJBarnabas Health — have terminated a definitive agreement to merge. 

Leadership of New Brunswick-based Saint Peter's Healthcare System and West Orange-based RWJ Barnabas Health agreed to call off the deal after the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit earlier this month to block the transaction. 

Saint Peter's Healthcare System President and CEO Leslie Hirsch said he is disappointed to cancel the proposed deal. 

"We were truly excited about the potential of this opportunity with RWJBarnabas to create a premier academic medical center of national distinction that would have improved quality and increased access especially to the most vulnerable in the communities we serve," Mr. Hirsch said in a June 14 news release. "We are now assessing the best way to move forward as we consider potential options to ensure Saint Peter's longstanding Catholic healthcare mission." 

The FTC alleged the deal would harm competition and raise prices.

"Saint Peter's University Hospital is less than one mile away from [RWJBarnabas] in New Brunswick, and they are the only two hospitals in that city," FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova said in a June 2 news release. The agency said the combined health system would have a market share of approximately 50 percent for general acute care services in Middlesex County. 

RWJBarnabas Health and Saint Peter's Healthcare System signed a definitive agreement to merge in September 2020.

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