The Federal Trade Commission is taking a closer look at the proposed merger of HealthSouth Rehabilitation Corp. and ReLife.
Officials at Birmingham, Ala.-based ReLife confirmed that the FTC on Oct. 28 had issued a second request for information on the merger plans, which were announced in September. A second request typically signifies increased antitrust scrutiny.
However, ReLife Chief Financial Officer Thomas Marshall said the second request wasn't completely unforeseen. "They asked for information on certain markets," he said. "It was one of the steps we expected."
The company is still collecting all the requested data, he said. However, the FTC request isn't expected to delay the merger, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
Under the merger, HealthSouth would control 33% of the national rehabilitation market and 60% of the Birmingham market-which is home to both HealthSouth's and ReLife's corporate headquarters (Sept. 26, p. 26).
HealthSouth is the nation's largest provider of rehabilitation services, operating in 336 locations and 34 states, including an acute-care hospital in Birmingham. ReLife operates 46 freestanding rehabilitation hospitals in 12 states, one of them in Birmingham.
HealthSouth officials couldn't be reached for comment at deadline.