NORWALK, Conn., Jan. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Health care merger and acquisition activity essentially held steady in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared with the third quarter. The number of deals announced fell 3%, to 442, compared with the previous quarter's 456 transactions, and was 12% lower than the 504 deals announced in the same quarter in 2018. Combined spending in the fourth quarter totaled $63.4 billion, up 22% compared with the previous quarter's $52.1 billion. It was 47% greater than the approximately $43.1 billion reported in the same quarter in 2018, according to HealthCareMandA.com
Healthcare services transactions made up 69% of the fourth quarter's deal volume, similar to the previous four quarters. The Long-Term Care sector once again ranked the busiest, with 110 deals and a 25% share of the quarter's transaction total. Year-over-year, two of the services sectors posted impressive gains—Home Health & Hospice (+40%) and Managed Care (+200%). Combined spending on the services side accounted for only 38% of the quarter's total, approximately $24 billion, based on disclosed prices.
Healthcare technology deals accounted for 31% of the fourth quarter's deal volume. The eHealth sector was the busiest, posting 63 deals to make up 14% of the quarter's total. Year-over-year, eHealth was the only technology sector to post an increase in deal volume, up 9% compared with the fourth quarter of 2018. Combined spending among the technology sectors was $39.4 billion.
"Fourth-quarter deal volume was strong, thanks to a busy December," said Lisa E. Phillips, editor of HealthCareMandA.com. "Heading into 2020, we expect another strong year in the healthcare market—at least until the November elections."
As healthcare mergers and acquisitions go, 2019 was another good year. Preliminary data show a total of 1,774 deals announced, the second-highest on record. The total is just 7% lower than 2018's record of 1,908 transactions.
Last year's spending total is another story, and one for the record books. Preliminary data show $401.7 billion went to finance healthcare deals in 2019, and that's just disclosed spending. Not only is that a record, it beat the previous record ($333.3 billion, set in 2018) by 21%.
All quarterly results are published in The Health Care M&A, which is part of the HealthCareMandA.com investment research source. Sector-specific research and analysis can be found at Levin Associates 2019 Sector Reports. For information, or to order the report, call 800-248-1668. Irving Levin Associates is celebrating more than 70 years of delivering exclusive M&A intelligence to its sophisticated audience of seniors housing and healthcare investors. The company was established in 1948 and has headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut.