GE Healthcare megadeal puts 2021 on course for a near-record

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Yesterday’s purchase of guided surgery specialist BK Medical by GE Healthcare is, remarkably, the 12th billion-dollar medtech acquisition to be announced this year. GE will spend $1.5bn in cash to take BK off its current owner, the private equity shop Altaris Capital Partners. This is the second huge sale of a medtech Altaris has brokered this year, the other group being lab instrument and diagnostics maker Paramit, which Altaris sold to Tecan for $1bn in June. As for GE, it can now add BK’s imaging and surgical navigation ultrasound systems, used during laparoscopic and robotic procedures, to its own imaging offering. Robotic surgery is growing fast, with huge players like Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson getting involved, and GE believes it can grow the sales of BK’s Active Imaging platform once it is in house. Taking a sector-wide view, should medtech M&A activity continue at the same pace throughout the fourth quarter of 2021, by the close of the year 16 megamergers worth a total of nearly $40bn will have been announced. If so, it would be beaten only by 2016, which saw 17 billion-dollar deals arranged, Evaluate Medtech data show.  

Return of the medtech megamerger
Year Total value ($bn) No of deals worth $1bn+
2016 67.8 17
2007 42.5 16
2021 (projected)* 38.6 16
2018 31.7 14
2014 97.4 13
*Figures to date $28.9bn, 12 deals. Source: Evaluate Medtech.

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