UnitedHealth-DaVita and Trends in Vertical Merger Enforcement

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On June 19, 2019 UnitedHealth Group Incorporated and DaVita, Inc. agreed to two separate consent agreements to resolve antitrust concerns about UnitedHealth Group’s $4.3 billion acquisition of DaVita’s DaVita Medical Group. Both the FTC and the Colorado AG filed complaints alleging that this acquisition would harm competition. In this article, Axinn partner Jeny Maier and associate Adam Cella discuss how the transaction and the two settlements provide insights into U.S. antitrust merger enforcement in three areas: (1) the horizontal and vertical aspects of the merger analysis and basis for enforcement action in this case; (2) the separate action taken by the Colorado AG; and (3) the open disagreement about vertical merger enforcement policy among the FTC Commissioners.