The planned merger between two of the nation’s largest home health care providers—LHC Group (Nasdaq: LHCG) and Almost Family (Nasdaq: AFAM)—hit a roadblock after LHC Group resubmitted its documents for the proposed transaction, restarting the notification process.
LHC Group voluntarily withdrew its pre-merger notification and report from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to public documents filed Jan. 22.
“With the holidays and those things, the FTC, I don’t think they were able to get moving on [the review] until after the new year,” Eric Elliot, senior vice president at LHC Group, told Home Health Care News. “It didn’t leave a whole lot of time. It’s a complicated industry, and [there are] nuances the FTC isn’t familiar with. It’s taken them a little while to get underneath the industry and underneath the market. When 30 days was up, we offered to pull and refile — which all it does is restart the 30-day shot clock and give the FTC a little more time.”
The merger was first announced in November 2017, and would combine Lafayette, Louisiana-based LHC Group and Louisville-based Almost Family. The new company would have a combined revenue of $1.8 billion, with the deal originally slated to close during the first half of 2018.
The new filing restarts the waiting period, but LHC Group still expects the transaction to close within the first half of the year, according to Elliot.
“It’s just part of the administrative process,” Elliot said. “…Nothing changes from an investor standpoint.”
It is not exactly clear why the FTC needed more time to review the notification, but LHC Group chose to withdraw and resubmit the filing for the proposed merger rather than allow its original notification to lapse into a second administrative process with the FTC after the initial 30 days passed.
LHC Group also stated it anticipates clearance in the proposed merger, but that antirust clearance is not guaranteed, according to the filing. The provider will update its filings “as we go along and if anything changes,” Elliot concluded.
Written by Amy Baxter