Going into the new year, there was nothing but optimism that healthcare companies would continue the buying spree that colored 2012.
But mergers and acquisitions in 2013 opened with a whimper. Both deal volume and deal value came in below expectations, according to Healthcare M&A Watch, Modern Healthcare Insights' quarterly report on healthcare merger and acquisition activity.
Across all sectors, healthcare companies forged fewer deals in the first quarter of the year than they did in the previous quarter and in the first quarter of 2012.
In total, there were 247 announced deals involving a healthcare company, down 31% from the fourth quarter, when there were 358 deals, and 38.4% lower than in the first quarter of 2012, when there were 401.
Publicly disclosed deal values were also half of what they were in the fourth quarter—$11 billion compared with $22 billion. They were also about a third lower than the same period last year, when total disclosed deal value was $16.1 billion.
There were also half as many blockbuster deals, with only two transactions above the $1 billion mark, compared with four in the fourth quarter. However, that number was on par with the first quarter of 2012.