US: FTC finds merger of prosthetic knee companies anticompetitive

The Federal Trade Commission issued an Opinion and Final Order in which the Commission upholds the Administrative Law Judge’s decision that the consummated acquisition of Freedom Innovations by Otto Bock HealthCare North America, Inc.—both top sellers of prosthetic knees equipped with microprocessors or MPKs—resulted in anticompetitive harm in the microprocessor prosthetic knee market, likely leading to higher prices and less innovation for amputee patients and prosthetic clinic customers. The acquisition was not reportable under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. The Commission’s order requires Otto Bock to divest the Freedom Innovations assets to an FTC-approved buyer.

The Commission’s Opinion and Final Order states, “Based on our de novo review of the facts and law in this matter, we find that the Acquisition is likely to, and indeed already has, substantially lessened competition in the relevant market for MPKs… We hold that, to fully restore the competition lost from the Acquisition, [Otto Bock] must divest Freedom’s entire business with the limited exceptions granted by the [Administrative Law Judge].”

The Commission’s order represents the first time that the current Commission ordered that a consummated acquisition be unwound.

Full Content: FTC

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