The US government continues to exhibit concerns about concentrated ownership in the veterinary industry, especially by the larger players such as National Veterinary Associates and Mars Inc. Big corporations own a sizable chunk of the industry, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is trying to put a check on that.
A few months back, the FTC ordered National Veterinary Associates (NVA) to sell six such hospitals, three in Texas and three in California.
This order was a wake-up call for NVA. The corporation had acquired ownership of 16 hospitals from Sage Veterinary Centers through a $1.1 billion acquisition last year. The FTC’s order, however, means that NVA will lose one-third of the assets it wanted to obtain from the agreement. And there’s more. The FTC subsequently ordered NVA to sell still more hospitals in the US. This shows that the regulators are increasingly uncomfortable with the concentration of veterinary ownership, particularly in specialty practice and emergency.
Putting a check on the monopoly of these big dogs is opening the door for smaller competitors to bid more effectively for veterinary hospitals and accrue higher market shares.
Speculation is mounting that the FTC will also look at deals involving general practices. Alarms have already been raised regarding the increasing power of private equity firms in the profession.
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