Information sought on SCI, Stewart deal

The Federal Trade Commission has requested additional information about Houston-based Service Corporation International’s proposed $1.13 billion acquisition of Stewart Enterprises Inc. in New Orleans.

Requests for information went to both companies, they reported.

The FTC requests, commonly referred to as the “second request,” were anticipated by SCI and Stewart, the companies said.

The requests extend the waiting period for the merger, but the companies said they still believe that the pending acquisition will be completed in late 2013 or early 2014.

Observers have said federal regulators might require that SCI divest properties in markets where there is overlap between the two companies, potentially in New Orleans, Houston, Dallas and Miami.

Founded in 1910, Stewart Enterprises owns and operates 217 funeral homes and 141 cemeteries in the United States and Puerto Rico.

SCI has said the combined company will operate 1,655 funeral homes and 515 cemeteries in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, about a 13 percent market share in a highly fragmented industry.