Health Care Deal Volume Rises in Q1:2017, As Deal Value Strengthens, According to

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NORWALK, CT – April 14, 2017 – Health care merger and acquisition activity picked up in the first quarter of 2017. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2016, deal volume increased 7%, to 395 transactions. Deal volume was also up 6% compared with the same quarter the year before. Combined spending in the first quarter reached $58.7 billion, an increase of 56% compared with the $37.8 billion spent in the previous quarter, according to First quarter deal value was down 27% compared with $80.9 billion spent in Q1:16. 

Health Care M&A Market – Deal Volume by Sector

Q1:17 Q4:16 Q1:16
Sector Deals Deals Change Deals Change
Behavioral Health Care 12 8 50% 9 33%
Home Health & Hospice 13 12 8% 21 -38%
Hospitals 19 23 -17% 27 -30%
Laboratories, MRI & Dialysis 10 9 11% 8 25%
Long-Term Care 73 93 -22% 84 -13%
Managed Care 4 4 0% 8 -50%
Physician Medical Groups 48 27 78% 23 109%
Rehabilitation 9 9 0% 12 -25%
Other 47 44 7% 41 15%
   Services subtotal 235 229 3% 233 1%
Biotechnology 62 56 11% 32 94%
eHealth 47 30 57% 38 24%
Medical Devices 22 22 0% 31 -29%
Pharmaceuticals 29 33 -12% 40 -28%
   Technology subtotal 160 141 13% 141 13%
Grand Total 395 370 7% 374 6%

Source:, April 2017

Health care services represented 59% of the first quarter’s transaction total, lower than the 62% share reported in the previous quarter, and the year-ago quarter. The decline is due to slow-downs in M&A activity in two of the services sectors, Hospitals (17%) and Long-Term Care (-22%), versus the previous quarter. The Behavioral Health Care (+50%) and Physician Medical Group (+78%) sectors, however, posted higher deal-making activity compared with the fourth quarter of 2016. Both the Behavioral Health and Physician Medical Group sectors have experienced tailwinds from the 21st Century Cures Act and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, respectively.

On the technology side, transaction growth was strong in the Biotechnology (+11%) and eHealth (+57%) sectors, compared with the previous quarter. M&A in both sectors posted strong gains over the year-ago quarter, at 94% and 24%, respectively. Biotechnology, in particular, has benefited from the push to find new cures for long-standing diseases.

“The first quarter was dominated by Congress’s repeal and replacement attempt of the Affordable Care Act, which produced winners and losers among the healthcare sectors,” said Lisa E. Phillips, editor of “The uncertainty created headwinds in the Hospital and Managed Care sectors. The eHealth sector was unaffected, because technology is at the heart of all aspects of health care today.”

The failure to replace the ACA just continues the uncertainty faced by various healthcare sectors. The House of Representatives may revisit the legislative effort in the second or third quarter this year. “Investors generally don’t like uncertainty,” Ms. Phillips said. “But many have become used to it, and are willing to invest in sectors that have been boosted by other legislation, such as the 21st Century Cures Act.”

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