Healthcare M&A finishes healthy in 2011

Nearly 1,000 healthcare-related mergers and acquisitions took place in 2011, up significantly from 2010, according to data from healthcare research firm Irving Levin Associates.

Altogether, 980 separate deals took place. The total volume of those transactions equaled $227.4 billion, up 9 percent from $207.7 billion in 2010. It was the fourth largest year in terms of dollar volume since 2002. The industry peaked at $268.4 billion in 2006.

"Despite apocalyptic headlines in the media about the end of the euro, the dollar, the economy and the world, deal makers readily utilized the M&A market to grow their businesses," Irving Levin Associates said in a statement.

Of the healthcare transactions, 56 percent (545 deals) took place in the healthcare services sector. The remaining 435 deals involved the healthcare technology sector. Medical device companies comprised 170 deals, followed by long-term care facilities and services with 161 deals, pharmaceuticals with 115 deals and 107 deals among physician groups.

Although the deal volume lagged behind 2010's total of 1,007, the company believes the final number will be revised upward once final regulatory filings are all made public by March.

To learn more:
- read the Irving Levin Associates press release