FTC Hears Jewish Group’s Concerns on SCI/Stewart Enterprises Merger

November 6, 2013
Advertisement

Five months into the Federal Trade Commission’s extended review of Service Corp. International’s proposed $1.4 billion purchase of funeral home rivalStewart Enterprises, staff from the agency and from the Maryland Attorney General’s office recently met with a group of consumers and rabbis to hear concerns about the deal’s effect on Jewish funerals in the Washington area.

The deal would create a chain consisting of 2,000 funeral homes and cemeteries, the largest in the country.

The group is concerned that the merger will result in the cancellation of a contract between Stewart-owned funeral home Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home and the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington. The group wants the FTC to require Hines-Rinaldi to be included in a package of divestitures the agency is expected to require as a condition of antitrust approval.

Advertisement

The committee negotiated a standard contract for funerals that offers several consumer protections and a lower cost. A lawyer for a Jewish group that is lobbying the FTC said Hines-Rinaldi’s traditional Jewish funerals cost 60% less and save consumers more than $500,000 annually compared with those offered by the two SCI-owned Jewish funeral homes, which hold a 60% market share in the Washington metro area.

On Oct. 31, staff from the FTC and the Maryland attorney general’s office took the rare step of meeting with more than 100 consumers and 13 rabbis from the Washington area to hear their concerns about the merger. The meeting was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. The council is asking that the FTC require that as a condition of antitrust approval SCI divest Hines-Rinaldi, which provides over 230 funerals a year under the arrangement worked out with the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee, which consists of over 40 synagogues in the Washington area.

Antitrust lawyer David Balto, who represents the Jewish Community Relations Council in its efforts to convince the FTC to require the divestiture of Hines-Rinaldi, said the funeral home is a direct competitor to SCI’s two Jewish-focused funeral homes, and SCI will have no incentive to retain the contract worked out by the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee.

[Read Full Article From TheStreet.com]

CDFuneralNews

ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com we have created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.
Advertisement

You may be interested

Funeral Homes are Struggling to Keep Their Doors Open
Cremation
4 views
Cremation
4 views

Funeral Homes are Struggling to Keep Their Doors Open

Ryan Thogmartin - August 13, 2017

This is a topic and conversation that does not get talked about or covered enough. We all want to put the blame on cremation and ignore the fact that many of the issues facing funeral homes aren't because families choose cremation but because of bad business decisions of many funeral directors who don't want to change or accept cremation.

Funeral Home Owner Howie VanRensselaer Wins July Sich Casket Giveaway
Funeral Industry Press Releases
2 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
2 views

Funeral Home Owner Howie VanRensselaer Wins July Sich Casket Giveaway

CDFuneralNews - August 13, 2017

August 8, 2017 -- Sich Casket has announced the winner of their monthly “Year of the Funeral Director” casket giveaway…

Jobs
2 views

Preneed Funeral Sales Advisor

CDFuneralNews - August 11, 2017

Premier Funeral Solutions is currently seeking a Preneed Funeral Sales Advisor . Premier Funeral Solutions offers tools and methodologies developed to help…

Comments