May 22, 2019

M&A Professionals Bullish on Healthcare Deals for Next Year, Despite Political Uncertainty Concerns: Merrill Insight Poll

5/22/2019

  • 52% see healthcare M&A market headed in a positive direction
  • 35% say political uncertainty is the biggest threat to completing deals

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 22, 2019 – Most mergers and acquisitions (M&A) professionals see a positive outlook for healthcare and life sciences deals next year, even as political uncertainty will be the biggest factor to upend transactions, according to a recent Merrill InsightTM poll of global M&A professionals. Merrill InsightTM is part of Merrill Corporation, the leading technology provider for M&A professionals around the world.

According to the poll, which included more than 200 respondents from the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), 52% of respondents believe that the M&A market is headed in a positive direction in the next year. This is a 12% jump from the results of the November Merrill InsightTM poll, where 40% of respondents anticipated a positive outlook and 48% believed the market was headed in a neutral direction. 

“This aligns with the steady stream of transaction activity we are seeing from our healthcare and life sciences clients,” said Rusty Wiley, Chief Executive Officer of Merrill Corporation. “The number of projects we are managing is up almost 12% compared to the same time last year. The shift to a technology-based business environment is pushing life sciences and healthcare companies to acquire or form partnerships to build better data and customer-centric capabilities.”

The positive outlook is tempered by 35% of respondents citing political uncertainty as the most likely factor to sink healthcare deals in the next year. This concern came ahead of investor confidence (22%), data privacy (21%), antitrust / competition (14%) and national security regulations (6%).

“The healthcare landscape is becoming increasingly difficult for dealmakers to navigate, as the U.S. enters a major election season and questions still surround the details of Brexit,” said Wiley. “On top of this, the healthcare industry is still grappling with how to operationalize and protect vast amounts of data, as well as how to attract the technology talent needed to capture that opportunity.”

In fact, respondents said the hardest part of getting a healthcare or life sciences deal right is talent assessment (35%), followed by data privacy compliance (22%), and regulatory communications (16%). From a due diligence standpoint, respondents overwhelmingly said finding all the red flags (57%) was the hardest part of the process. Predicting buyer interest at 16% was next, followed by data security and control at 12%.

Other key poll results included:

  • 44% of respondents said healthcare IT represented the richest investment opportunity in the sector, ahead of next generation sequencing (22%), medical marijuana (20%) and both point of care delivery and immunotherapy (19%).
  • Technology will drive the most opportunity in population health and precision medicine, according to 25% of respondents. Other areas of opportunity included diagnostics and devices (24%), biosensors and trackers (20%), telehealth (18%) and infrastructure and operations (10%).
  • 40% of respondents said data connectivity is the greatest obstacle to harnessing the technology opportunity, followed by technology and healthcare collaboration (23%), lack of user experience focus (14%), technology-as-a-cost-center culture (12%) and the technology talent gap (10%). 

For more information on the healthcare outlook, please see the Merrill Insight™ replay. The poll results are based on responses from global M&A professionals in the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who participated in the event.

About Merrill Corporation

Merrill Corporation is a leading global SaaS provider for participants in the M&A lifecycle. Clients trust Merrill’s innovative applications, excellent customer service and deep subject matter expertise to successfully navigate the secure sharing of their most sensitive content. The company’s flagship platform, DatasiteOne, powers secure, intelligent due diligence and enterprise collaboration for thousands of deals in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit https://www.merrillcorp.com.

CONTACT:

Laura Powers

Merrill Corporation

212-367-6168

[email protected]

Nicholas Koulermos

5W Public Relations

646-843-1812

[email protected]

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Marta Carraro

Vice President, Communications

212.367.6162

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Jennifer Percy

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