US's Acadia warned of competition probe over Priory takeover deal
The competition watchdog has threatened to open an in-depth investigation into US healthcare giant Acadia's £1.5 billion takeover of mental health specialist Priory Group.
Unless Acadia addresses concerns identified across 20 areas in the UK, the deal will come under increased scrutiny, t he Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) warned in a statement on Thursday.
Alongside Priory, Acadia also owns Partnerships In Care, and the CMA's concerns centre on the fact that the two firms "overlap in the supply of a number of inpatient and outpatient mental healthcare services".
It is understood that Acadia could avoid an in-depth investigation if it sells off a number of units where overlaps occur.
Andrea Coscelli, of the CMA, said: "Customers have raised concerns with us about the merger and how it might affect their ability to obtain quality services at the best possible price.
"There are relatively few private providers for many of these services in England and Wales and, if the merger goes ahead, the incentives on providers to continue to supply the NHS with value for money services will reduce."
The Priory is famous for treating celebrity clients such Kate Moss, Pete Doherty and the late Amy Winehouse.
Acadia did not respond to requests for comment.