HBI Deals+Insights / News

Reason to be cheerful?

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, Spring may still be a good six weeks away – but something is in the air. Our newsdesk inboxes and telephones are buzzing with news of prospective M&A deals, and we hear collectively that prospects for consolidation look to be blooming.

Why is this? The first round of COVID vaccines being rolled out has certainly given cause for optimism and an expectation that, by the summer, a degree of normality will have returned to the world. This would be reason enough to celebrate.

But it’s more than just that. There is an optimism in the market. In part, this springs from a newfound understanding – an alliance even – between government payors and the for-profits who have stepped in to support unable-to-cope public infrastructure. There is a sense that ‘we are in it together’ – though whether that sense persists post-pandemic remains to be seen. There are shifts in the markets too. Waiting lists for electives have soared in these troubling times and the prospects of increased outsourcing are, we hear, strong.

And consolidation wise there is an increasing sense that big is beautiful – or at least safer – driving smaller operators to seek safety in the arms of a larger group (or for those of a certain age, to throw in the towel and sell up to it).

All of these enhance the market, and/or drive M&A. What effect is this having? The flood of deals that we saw in the pipeline at the start of 2020 and which turned into a trickle in the first half of the year appears to now be flowing once again. Recent big-name processes/deals include Swiss hospital and psychiatric group Ameos (preparing for sale or refinancing), Everlight (radiology specialist for which Goldman Sachs has just picked up the mandate), global IVF operator Eugin (carved off NMC and sold to Fresenius), and C2S (snapped up by French hospital rival Elsan).

Deals+Insights members can read all about these deals and much more in our usual news section, while HBI Intelligence members can also access each company in our database and look at our deals pipeline showing which of the groups we track are close to sale. It’s early days, but the signs for 2021 are improving all the time.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to David Farbrother or call 0207 183 3779.