Does the future hold a slowdown in health IT M&A activity?

2016 doesn’t look like the record-beating year some observers expected.
By Bernie Monegain
01:33 PM
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Healthcare merger and acquisition activity was down in the third quarter of 2016. Compared with the second quarter, deal volume fell 11 percent, to 369 transactions, according to HealthcareM&A.com.

On the technology side, biotechnology and medical devices were the only two sectors to show increased deal volume, with biotechnology deals rising 58 percent compared with the second quarter. Medical device transactions rose 19 percent.

M&A deal volume overall was lower compared with the third quarter of 2015, showing 10 percent fewer transactions from the 411 recorded then. Combined spending in the third quarter totaled $48 billion, a drop of 46 percent compared with the $88.3 billion spent in the previous quarter.

[See also: Health IT mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures to watch in 2016: A running list.]

“Healthcare deal volume is showing signs of slowing down, after two years of record growth,” according to Lisa E. Phillips, editor of HealthCareMandA.com.

“The important takeaway is that a slowdown is not a complete halt,” she said in a statement. “But it’s obvious the deal flow pace would have to pick up rapidly to beat last year’s record of more than 1,500 deals. With the presidential election in November, and the Federal Reserve’s expected increase in interest rates in December, 2016 doesn’t look like the record-beating year some observers expected.”

Moreover, combined spending in the third quarter totaled $48 billion, down 46 percent compared with the approximately $88.3 billion spent in the previous quarter, according to HealthCareMandA.com.

Healthcare services represented 59 percent of the third quarter’s transaction total, compared with the 61 percent share reported in the previous quarter, and the 62 percent share recorded in the third quarter of 2015. Investor interest in the services sectors was generally strong.

The Long-Term Care sector, which has enjoyed a prolonged bull market, posted 71 transactions in the third quarter, 19 percent lower than the previous quarter.