As market pressures have increased, the pace of M&A consolidation in the medical device industry has accelerated.
However, the game-changing megamergers may be behind us.
The only milestone merger that happened in 2016 in medical technology was Abbott Laboratories’ acquisition of St. Jude for $25bn.
Other key multibillion-dollar deals so far this year have been Abbott’s buyout of Alere for $5.8bn, Canon’s acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems for $5.9bn, and Johnson & Johnson’s acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics from Abbott Laboratories for $4.3bn.
While large, transformative transactions are rare, the trend towards strategic merger and acquisition activities at a tuck-in level in medtech continued in 2016.
In fact, medical device companies have demonstrated an increasing appetite for strategic so-called bolt-on acquisitions that would fill their portfolio gaps and and give them better geographical reach.
For example, Thermo Fisher has been pursuing a steady M&A strategy in its life sciences business and secured a string of bolt-on deals in 2016 alone. The acquisitions of biological analysis toolmaker Affymetrix; leading high-performance electron microscopy provider FEI; and a stem cell and reagent firm, MTI-GlobalStem to name a few.
This year, although the new landscape favours large companies who can leverage economies of scale, there’s likely to be a calming of the high-profile M&A scene.
Instead, the shift to strategic M&A activities at a tuck-in level will continue.
Allergan’s acquisition of Zeltiq ($2.5bn) in February is a good example of companies leveraging existing competitive advantages and seeking inorganic growth through more focused M&As that are complementary and strategic.
By adding the body contouring CoolSculpting System to Allergan’s facial aesthetics, plastic surgery and regenerative medicine offerings, the company is poised to create a world-class aesthetics business.