Nevada by Masto, v. Service Corporation International, No. 2:09-cv-02248. (D.Nev. 2009)

SCI sought to acquire the assets of Palm Mortuary, a cemetery company in Las Vegas, Nevada. After state and FTC investigation, determined that the acquisition would have created a combined company controlling 76% of the cemetery market in the Las Vegas area, the state and FTC filed a complaint and settlement. SCI agreed to divest most of its assets in the Las Vegas area in order to proceed with the acquisition. The complaint alleged that the acquisition, as planned, would eliminate direct competition between SCI and Palm Mortuary for cemetery services in the Las Vegas area. This would leave area cemetery consumers with fewer choices, along with the prospect of higher prices or reduced levels of service. The complaint also alleged that entry into this market from new cemetery providers would not be timely, likely or sufficient to prevent these anticompetitive effects. The settlement provides that SCI must sell its Davis Funeral Home and Memorial Park property as well as the pre-paid business derived from this property and another SCI-owned Davis funeral home to a buyer approved by the Attorney General within 90 days of SCI acquiring Palm Mortuary. Prior to SCI selling these Davis assets, SCI must ensure the economic and competitive viability of these Davis assets in accordance with past practices. A series of firewall protections help accomplish this. The Attorney General’s staff will monitor SCI’s compliance and can name an independent third party to monitor the company’s compliance. For the next three years, SCI will provide notice to the Attorney General of future acquisitions that involve cemetery service or funeral service markets where the company already has a presence in Nevada. Additionally, SCI reimbursed the Office of the Attorney General for its attorneys’ fees and costs resulting from the investigation, as well as any potential future investigations. SCI is subject to fines and injunctive relief for non-compliance.

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