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High court rules against Georgia hospital merger

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has dealt a setback to a deal between two private companies that left one as the owner of the only two hospitals in a southwestern Georgia city.

The justices ruled unanimously Tuesday that lower courts improperly dismissed complaints that the merger, aided by a public hospital authority, created a monopoly in hospital services in Albany, Ga.

The Federal Trade Commission tried to block the deal by arguing that it violated federal antitrust law.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in her opinion for the court that an exception in antitrust law for actions taken by a state or its agencies — in this case, the hospital authority — did not shield the transaction from federal antitrust concerns.

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