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Healthcare M&A activity expected to rise despite COVID-19

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | July 07, 2020
Business Affairs

While pausing such activity, the pandemic did not stop plans to move forward with many transactions and may have actually illustrated the advantages of partnerships, according to the report. It has, for instance, caused healthcare leaders to re-assess current care delivery models and try to determine how their health systems can change to meet needs exposed by the pandemic. In addition, the crisis has led to partnerships that are expected to continue after it ends, such as the possible one between Lifespan and Care New England.

Nine of the 14 announced transactions were acquisitions of for-profit sellers, including six that involved major for-profit systems. Many for-profit health systems are anticipated to continue to change their portfolios over the quarter, with six of the 14 announcing transactions that represent divestitures by major for-profit health systems, including Community Health Systems, Quorum, and HCA. Newly capitalized for-profit hospital owners and operators are also forming and beginning to actively evaluate initial or add-on targets.

Further M&A activity is expected from both for-profit and not-for-profit systems, with many searching for ways to monetize or do away with underperforming assets and strengthen their financial state in the wake of COVID-19. Discussions around pre-pandemic plans are expected to result in definitive agreements or closures through the rest of the year.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of hospitals and health systems were already looking for strategic partners to work together to better manage care across the entire continuum and migrate to value-based models,” said Singh. “The pandemic has further demonstrated the advantages of scale, coordination, and innovation, strengthening the rationale for future partnerships with transformational goals.”

Academic health systems and religiously affiliated organizations were not represented in any of the second quarter’s transactions.

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