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Partners-Hallmark merger deal falls through

Boston-based Partners HealthCare and Medford, Mass.-based Hallmark Health System have ended merger talks after putting the deal on hold earlier this year.

The decision to call off the merger marks the end of a long-running controversy. In January, a judge rejected a deal that would have allowed Partners to acquire Hallmark and South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Mass. Partners subsequently abandoned the acquisition of South Shore and put the Hallmark transaction on pause.

"Partners has bumped up against a ceiling in terms of how big it can get without violating antitrust laws," Robert Field, a professor at Drexel University who studies hospital consolidation, told the Boston Globe. "It's been inching toward that ceiling for many years now, and I think it finally hit its head."

Partners plans to continue to grow, but the health system will have to focus its expansion efforts outside Massachusetts. The health system has already stepped up its efforts to grow beyond the commonwealth's borders, as it launched projects to help build hospitals in Malta and Ivory Coast last month.

More articles on healthcare industry transactions:

Good, bad or too tough to say? What 4 health system CEOs think of hospital consolidation
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