Media Releases

Connor Healthcare appeals Commission decision declining clearance

31 March 2015

Connor Healthcare Limited (Connor) has filed an appeal in the High Court against the Commission’s decision declining clearance for it to acquire all the shares in Acurity Health Group Limited (Acurity) it did not already own.

The Commission declined Connor’s clearance application because its parent company, Evolution Healthcare (NZ) Pty Ltd (Evolution), would have increased its interest in Acurity as a result of the merger.

The proposed acquisition would have seen three of the four private hospitals in the Wellington region – Boulcott, Bowen and Wakefield – come under common ownership, leaving only Southern Cross Hospital independent of Connor. The Commission considered this would have resulted in some medical procedures only being available at the merged healthcare providers, removing a competitive constraint.

Connor subsequently made a second application for clearance to acquire all of the shares in Acurity, subject to a divestment undertaking which meant that Evolution’s interest in Acurity would remain at the same level as it was prior to the acquisition. The Commission cleared this second application.

Connor’s appeal relates only to the first decision.

A timetable for hearing in the Wellington High Court has yet to be set. Because the matter is before the Court, the Commission will not be making any further comment at this time.

Background

On 11 December 2014 the Commission declined Connor’s application to acquire all the shares that it did not currently own in Acurity. 

In declining clearance, the Commission was not satisfied that the proposed acquisition would not have, or would not be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in respect of a number of medical procedures performed in private hospitals in the Wellington region. A copy of the Commission’s decision can be found on the Clearances Register.

Under section 91 of the Commerce Act Connor can appeal to the High Court against the Commission’s decision.