The hospital mergers and acquisitions market kept up its renewed strength, with a total of 18 deals announced in the third quarter, one more than in the second quarter and one fewer than in the 2003 third quarter, according to Irving Levin Associates, New Canaan, Conn. Investor-owned hospital activity led the way, said Sanford Steever, editor of Irving Levin's Health Care M&A Report. That's because of Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s plan to divest 27 hospitals this year and separate deals this summer that brought new majority investors to Iasis Healthcare and Vanguard Health Systems. Overall healthcare services deal-making was down slightly, with 110 deals in the third quarter, compared with 112 in the second quarter and 118 in the 2003 third quarter. Deals in home health, long-term care and managed care increased slightly or were flat in the third quarter, compared with the second quarter and the year-ago third quarter. Healthcare deal-making slumped last year, with analysts citing a slow economy, but activity has returned to pre-2003 levels, although the number and the size of deals remain below a mid-1990s peak. -- by Vince Galloro
Hospital deal-making strong, thanks to for-profits
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