On 21 September 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it was suing US Anesthesia Partners, Inc. (USAP) and its private equity owner Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The lawsuit targets a common private equity strategy known as a “roll-up.” A roll-up merger typically occurs when a private equity company acquires several small companies in the same market and subsequently merges those companies.
On 27 January 2023, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its unanimous (3-0) decision in FTC v. Simple Health Plans, LLC, et al., No. 21-13116. This matter stemmed from an individual defendant’s emergency motion to dissolve a preliminary injunction that a district court had issued under Sections 13(b) and 19 of the FTC Act. The district court denied the emergency motion, and the defendant appealed.
In the wake of US Supreme Court precedent in the 2021 AMG Capital Management LLC v. Federal Trade Commission decision, the FTC is doubling down and expanding its enforcement efforts to target executives, directors and owners, including private equity, in an effort to hold accountable anyone profiting from anti-competitive conduct or conduct harmful to consumers. William Roppolo, Ashley Eickhof and Annasofia Roig explores this issue in an article published in Law360.
On 10 November 2022, following a 3-1 vote, the Federal Trade Commission issued a policy statement expanding its interpretation of the scope of unfair methods of competition under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits “unfair methods of competition,” which covers conduct that violates antitrust laws or section 5 itself.