Physical therapy clinics have popped up on just about every street corner around metro Chicago lately, it seems. Those ubiquitous ATI and Athletico banners, in fact, signal that two big local companies are growing fast to dominate the business, leading to speculation about what each can do for an encore.

Some dealmakers believe they could be ripe for public offerings of stock. If so, their stories certainly would impress Wall Street.

In the wake of a frenzy of acquisition roll-ups over the past 15 years, the 10 largest physical therapy companies still control less than 25 percent of the $30 billion, 19,000-clinic outpatient physical therapy marketplace in the U.S., according to analysts.

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