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Tenet, Methodist Le Bonheur abandon $350M deal after FTC challenge

Memphis, Tenn.-based Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has decided not to pursue the $350 million purchase of two hospitals from Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, according to the Daily Memphian.

The organizations called off the deal less than two months after the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the transaction pending an administrative trial, which was slated to begin May 18. The Tennessee attorney general's office joined the FTC's complaint. 

"With the Federal Trade Commission's recent decision to ask a court to block the sale of the transaction, we would prefer to focus on continuing our commitment to provide compassionate high-quality care to patients rather than costly and protracted litigation that would have lasted at least 18 months and distracted from our core mission," Methodist Le Bonheur President and CEO Michael Ugwueke said in a statement, according to the report. 

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said the deal would have resulted in higher prices and fewer options for healthcare. If the transaction closed, Methodist Le Bonheur would control about 60 percent of the inpatient general acute care market in Memphis, Mr. Slatery said in a Nov. 16 statement

Mr. Ugwueke said the deal would have improved patient care. 

"We continue to believe that the proposed acquisition of Saint Francis hospitals and its associated properties would improve healthcare delivery for residents of Memphis, Bartlett and the surrounding communities, including enhancing access to care, cutting-edge medical technology and the highest quality physicians and staff," Mr. Ugwueke said. 

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