On 20 January 2022, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) approved Mehiläinen Oy’s acquisition of Fysios Holding Oy. The approval is conditional upon partial divestiture of Fysios’ physiotherapy business in Vaasa to a third party. A contract on the sale of the business has already been entered into.
Mehiläinen Group offers health and social services and operates extensively in the healthcare and social services market. Fysios is a national chain operator offering therapy services with a primary focus on different areas of physiotherapy.
The FCCA’s investigations indicate that Mehiläinen’s acquisition of Fysios leads to adverse effects on competition in the market for physiotherapy services for self-paying customers in the area of the City of Vaasa. Following the acquisition, Mehiläinen’s market share would be significantly higher in Vaasa and there would be insufficient competition on the market.
The FCCA did not identify competition concerns on any other markets or geographical areas in which the parties have overlapping business operations.
Divestiture of the physiotherapy business in Vaasa as a condition for approval of the acquisition
Competition concerns arising from corporate acquisitions can often be eliminated by imposing conditions on the acquisition. To address the competition concerns identified by the FCCA, Mehiläinen committed to the sale of certain parts of Fysios’ physiotherapy business in Vaasa to a third party. For the first time in Finland, the commitment has been implemented by means of a so-called fix-it-first remedy meaning that the parties have found a suitable buyer for the divestment business and entered into a binding contract on the sale of the business during the FCCA’s investigation. In the case at hand, the Vaasa business operations are sold to Pihlajalinna Lääkärikeskukset Oy, and the FCCA has approved the sale to Pihlajalinna in its decision.
“Ensuring the effectiveness and enforceability of commitments form an integral part of a merger control procedure. As the buyer is identified in advance, the FCCA can be more certain that the commitments will remove the competition concerns,” says Sanna Syrjälä, Director of Merger Control.
The FCCA considers that the remedies proposed by Mehiläinen are sufficient to eliminate the competition concerns caused by the acquisition and to ensure the preservation of the competitive market structure.
The FCCA’s decision contains confidential business secrets of the parties. The decision will be made public after the business secrets have been removed.