December 1, 2014

Healthcare tech firms hot commodities for acquisition

In a year of major mergers and acquisitions activity, the healthcare field has stood out as one of the most active sectors of consolidation and sales. Data collector Dealogic reports that the industry has slated $438 billion in total M&A worldwide, accounting for a 14 percent share of total mergers across industries. The Associated Press reports this has been the best year for M&A in the healthcare field in more than two decades. 

Among those most sought-after properties in the field are healthcare technology companies that streamline data collection, innovate pharmaceuticals and make advances in biotech. Large companies in the medical industry are also looking to expand globally, acquiring properties around the world to grow international market shares. For some, that can also mean relocating headquarters to countries with more favorable tax environments for corporations, like Medtronic, which acquired the Irish firm Covidien in June. 

In the health insurance world, Aetna Inc. recently announced it would purchase Bswift, a heath tech company, for $400 million. The Chicago firm provides technology for benefits administration and insurance purchases on private exchanges, reports the Associated Press, and will diversify Aetna's policy offerings. The company has developed a private exchange model that can now integrate Bswift's technology and expertise to grow the burgeoning service. 

"Aetna will help expand the reach of our technology and benefits services with a goal of creating a true consumer marketplace for health care," Bswift CEO Rich Gallun said.

Lockheed Martin, a security and defense firm, announced in October that it would acquire Systems Made Simple, a healthcare technology company. The Syracuse, New York, based company has handled health data analytics for agencies like the National Institutes of Health, and can help Lockheed expand its health research apparatus.