The latest Healthtech M&A Market Report from international technology mergers and acquisitions advisors, Hampleton Partners, reveals how Big Data is fast becoming the common currency that lies at the heart of high-value business models in the healthtech sector.
In addition to booming strategic investment in the sector, the first half of 2018 saw record private equity investment and five multi-billion-dollar deals, pushing the total disclosed transaction value to $13.4bn with a 30-month trailing disclosed EV\EBITDA ratio in excess of 16x.
The data revolution in healthtech
Billions of individual Electronic Health Records (EHR) are replacing paper files and the data from decades of medical research and clinical trials need to be stored. Data management and analytics platforms and medical collaboration software are in demand to take advantage of the huge potential the data revolution offers to advance medicine.
Jonathan Simnett, Director and Healthtech Sector Principal, Hampleton Partners, said: “The data revolution is helping transform healthcare and is offering individuals, as well as clinicians, the opportunity to track, manage and improve health states in real time by using healthtech wearables and personalised apps."
“These trillions of health and well-being data points all need monitoring and analysing to provide the effective diagnostics that practitioners need to improve outcomes. Hampleton expects companies expert in big data analytics, and those using new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, which increase the effectiveness of healthcare services, are going to be in demand going forward.”
Tech giants’ healthtech ambitions
But the healthcare market is not just going through a technology inflection point. There are profound disruptive influences at play, as companies from outside of the traditional healthcare space bring new expertise and business models to the sector, competing with already highly acquisitive incumbents such as Philips, IMSHealth, Allscripts, Ability, Roper and Harris.
Amazon’s purchase of online pharmacy PillPack, for a reported value of just under $1.0bn, underscores the company’s ambitions in healthcare after its joint venture announcement for employee healthcare services provision with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan.
The potential for Amazon to combine its eCommerce, video platform, massive outsourced web services expertise and customer reach into a one-stop shop for consumer verticals like healthcare, could trigger further defensive acquisitions in the months and years to come.
Private equity invests billions in healthtech
The sector's largest deal in the first half year was the $4.9bn cash acquisition of Cotiviti Holdings, a healthcare analytics and payments business, by Verscend Technologies, a portfolio company of Veritas Capital. The acquisition, valued at 19.7x EBITDA and at a 136% premium to Cotiviti's IPO common stock price, demonstrated the heightened willingness of private equity investors to chase big-ticket deals in healthcare.
The healthtech sector's second largest transaction was the $2.1bn offer from Platinum Equity for Johnson & Johnson's struggling LifeScan unit, a manufacturer of blood glucose monitoring systems. In third place was the $1.9bn acquisition of Alphabet-backed Flatiron Health, an electronic health record software specialist with a focus on oncology, by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding, adding to its existing stake, for a total value of $2.1bn.
The two other private equity deals that made it into the top ten biggest transactions were the $1.05bn cash acquisition of General Electric’s health-care technology unit by Veritas Capital and Vista Equity Partners' investment in software company Allocate.
The future of healthtech M&A
Jonathan Simnett, continued: “Ageing populations, increasing patient demands and the rise of lifestyle diseases, coupled with pressure on service delivery budgets are forcing public and private healthcare providers faced with unsustainable care models to innovate to improve the quality of delivery and lower costs.
“This is prompting tech giants, including Amazon, Apple, Google and IBM to target the healthcare sector in competition with private equity, but they’ll all face strong competition for deals from incumbent healthtech providers, many of whom are under growing pressure to maintain their top-line organic growth and sharpen their market focus. This is all good news for healthtech companies considering an exit in coming months.”