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Volume and value of healthcare mergers and acquisitions increase during second quarter

Despite the robust quarter, none of the transactions were considered "mega-deals," valued at $5 billion or more.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

UnitedHealth Group headquarters in Minnetonka, MN (Google Earth)UnitedHealth Group headquarters in Minnetonka, MN (Google Earth)

The volume of mergers and acquisitions ticked back up during the second quarter of this year, and hit a milestone of sorts: It marked the eighth straight quarter in which volume topped 250 deals.

In all, that's good for a 7.3% increase from the first quarter, according to the latest report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The value of those deals also showed a significant increase -- 10.3% higher than the average of the seven quarters that preceded it.

Despite the increased average value of M&A deals in the quarter, none of the transactions were considered "mega-deals," valued at $5 billion or more. The closest was a $3.2 billion transaction involving UnitedHealth Group's acquisition of Equian from New Mountain Capital. United Health will be absorbing Equian into its Optum division.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT

Long-term care led the way in M&A activity in the quarter with 41% of total deal volume, which was good for 114 transactions all told. The award for highest growth goes to transactions involving MRIs, dialysis and laboratories, which grew 117% from this time last year.

Hospital transactions and managed care comprised just 5 and 3% of total volume respectively, during the quarter, placing them at the rear of the pack.

When it came to private equity, the biggest deal was West Street Capital Partners CII's $3.2 billion acquisition of Capital Vision Services. The next biggest private equity deal was valued at $100 million -- Amulet Capital Partners' acquisition of three gastroenterology practices.

There haven't been any initial public offerings in healthcare since 2016, the report found.

THE LARGER TREND

Volume and value have been up and down over the past several quarters, but the overall trend is one of growth, particularly in terms of volume. In fact, 2018 was a record year, with volume up 14.4 percent over 2017.

Long-term care accounted for a significant chunk of M&A activity, continuing a trend, starting in 2015, of the sub-sector comprising a large chunk of total deal volume. At least 300 transactions per year have happened in that space. In 2018, that number topped 400.

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com