© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Federal Trade Commission seal is seen at a news conference at FTC headquarters in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo/File Photo
By GursimranKaur Mehar and Mrinmay Dey
(Reuters) -A U.S. court on Friday upheld a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) order to block IQVIA’s acquisition of DeepIntent, a healthcare advertising firm, as it may harm competition.
DeepIntent, owned by Propel Media, a digital advertising company, entered into an agreement with U.S. headquartered healthcare data and analytics firm IQVIA in 2022 with the intent to facilitate seamless communication between patients and healthcare providers.
Earlier this year, the FTC intervened to block IQVIA and DeepIntent’s proposed merger so as to prevent increased concentration in health care programmatic advertising.
The merger would harm competition and would lead to increased prices for consumers, and hurt patients, the FTC had said.
DeepIntent’s chief executive officer previously in an open letter said that the company would walk away from the deal and would remain an independent company had the regulator won the block. The financial terms of the deal are not known.
Speaking in favor of the FTC, District Judge Edgar Ramos granted the U.S. antitrust department a preliminary injunction to block the deal.
In the ruling, Ramos said, “The FTC has shown that there is a reasonable probability that the proposed acquisition will substantially impair competition in the relevant market and that the equities weigh in favor of injunctive relief.”
IQVIA said in an emailed statement to Reuters it was disappointed by the court’s decision and was reviewing the decision and evaluating its options.
“We maintain that the FTC’s arguments in this case are inconsistent with the reality of the marketplace and unsupported by the law,” IQVIA said.
DeepIntent and the FTC did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.