After Healthcare System Sanford Health Abandons Acquisition of North Dakota Healthcare Provider Mid Dakota Clinic, FTC Dismisses Case from Administrative Trial Process

Following the decision last week of Sanford Health to abandon its proposed acquisition of Mid Dakota Clinic, the Federal Trade Commission has dismissed its case challenging the transaction through the Commission’s administrative trial process.

FTC Chairman Joseph J. Simons issued the following statement:

“These two physicians’ groups have competed vigorously in the Bismarck-Mandan region of North Dakota. The FTC alleged that the proposed acquisition would give Sanford at least a 75 to 85 percent share of the market for providing adult primary care physician services, pediatric services, and obstetrics and gynecology services, and would leave the region with only one physician group offering general surgery physician services. Now that the acquisition is abandoned, consumers in the Bismarck-Mandan region of North Dakota will continue to benefit from competition between Sanford Health and Mid Dakota Clinic in these vital physician services.”

A June 13, 2019 decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a December 2017 preliminary injunction issued by the district court that halted the acquisition pending a full administrative trial on the merits. When the respondents appealed the district court’s ruling and sought to have the preliminary injunction lifted, the administrative trial was stayed.

The FTC filed its federal complaint challenging the acquisition jointly with the Office of the Attorney General of North Dakota in June 2017. The complaint alleged that Sanford and Mid Dakota are each other’s closest rivals in the four-county Bismarck-Mandan region.

The Commission’s vote to dismiss the administrative complaint was 5-0.

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