December 23, 2013
Attorney General Chris Koster said today that three Kansas City-area funeral businesses must be sold as part of an acquisition that would combine the two largest funeral businesses in the nation. Koster said he and six other Attorneys General, as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), had concerns that the acquisition “would substantially lessen competition in numerous markets,” including Kansas City.
Koster said the Kansas City-area businesses that must be divested are:
Additional divestitures are expected to be ordered in 14 other states as part of settlements filed by Koster and the six other Attorneys General in U.S. District Court and by the FTC. The six other states are Texas, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Houston-based Service Corporation International (SCI), the largest funeral business in the nation, is acquiring the second-largest funeral provider, New Orleans-based Stewart Enterprises. SCI owns and operates more than 1,440 funeral-service locations and 374 cemeteries and 100 crematories in 44 states, including Mount Moriah Terrace Park Funeral Home & Cemetery. Stewart owns and operates 217 funeral homes and 141 cemeteries in 24 states, including Johnson County Funeral Chapel & Memorial Gardens and Overland Park Chapel. The two companies have agreed to the terms required by the Attorneys General and the FTC.
“My office closely monitors mergers and acquisitions to protect Missouri consumers,” Koster said. “People selecting funeral services are often in a fragile state of mind, and we want to make sure they are not taken advantage of by unfair pricing schemes.”
In addition to the divestitures, the agreement requires SCI to provide notice of future acquisitions in the Kansas City-area and other specific markets.