A last-minute Federal Trade Commission request for information about Charter Medical Corp.'s purchase of 46 psychiatric hospitals from National Medical Enterprises will delay the deal, but probably won't derail it.
The two firms said they expect the request to delay the expected May 31 closing of the deal. Executives of Santa Monica, Calif.-based NME had hoped to close by that date, which is also the end of the company's fiscal year.
Macon, Ga.-based Charter and NME announced the $180 million deal last month, and the FTC had 30 days to request additional information about it. The request came on the afternoon of the final day.
Officials declined to say what markets the FTC was investigating. However, both firms operate psychiatric hospitals in several markets, including Memphis, Tenn.; Charleston, S.C.; Houston; Richmond, Va.; Milwaukee; Atlanta; Indianapolis; and Long Beach, Calif.
If the deal is completed, Charter would be the nation's largest psychiatric hospital chain with 122 facilities.