Acadia Sinks, Credit Suisse Sees Antitrust Issues With Any UHS Interest

After hosting Universal Health Services CFO Steve Filton for an investor dinner, Credit Suisse analyst A.J. Rice says the recovery of the company's psychiatric business is taking longer than it had originally expected. The analyst, however, adds that demand in the psych industry "is plentiful" and could support growth levels higher than the company's current targets if it can capitalize on it.

Rice also opined on the recent press reports of private equity interest in Acadia Healthcare (ACHC), Universal Health Services' main public peer. If Universal Health were to look at buying Acadia, there would likely be some areas of antitrust concern, Rice tells investors in a research note. In the U.S., there could be challenges in specific markets to acquiring Acadia, while in the U.K., there would almost certainly be antitrust concerns, says the analyst. Further, Universal Health has also expressed some reluctance to consider taking on an acquisition the size of Priory in the U.K. at this time, Rice adds.

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Shares of Acadia Healthcare fell significantly in afternoon trading but are well off their lows. Following a few halts for volatility, the stock is down 9%, or $3.60, to $38.34. Universal Health Services, meanwhile, is down 2% to $127.71. Rice has an Outperform rating on Universal Health with a $150 price target. CNBC's David Faber last week reported that a buyout of Acadia may be a couple of weeks away.

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