The South Africa Competition Commission's decision to block a merger between Life Healthcare and Joint Medical Holdings was overruled by the Competition Tribunal - an event that has experts questioning the Commission's leadership and efficacy. Although the Commission lacks a permanent head of mergers and acquisitions, commissioners assert that internal leadership issues do not contribute to so-called setbacks at the Tribunal.
The Commission disapproved of the merger on grounds that, among other problems, noninsured patients would suffer higher prices and independent hospitals would not be able to compete for specialists. The merging parties responded that Life Healthcare was merely moving from "joint" to "sole" control and the deal would cause neither antitrust disruption nor the Commission's above concerns.
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