Merger and acquisition activity among healthcare companies declined 24% in the first quarter, as investors waited for an economic rebound and the end of the Iraq war, according to Irving Levin Associates, New Canaan, Conn. In the three-month period, 218 mergers and acquisitions, valued at $13.5 billion, were announced. That's a 24% drop from the fourth quarter of 2002 but a 3% increase from the year-ago first quarter. Four hospital deals were announced, compared with 15 in the fourth quarter of 2002 and 14 in the first quarter of 2002. One transaction -- Johnson & Johnson's $2.7 billion acquisition of a biotechnology firm, Scios -- represented a fifth of the total deal value in the quarter. -- by Patrick Reilly
Industry deals slow amid uncertain conditions
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