The Wall Street Journal
The rise of special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, as a viable exit strategy for private-equity backed assets, coupled with a number of traditional initial public offerings in the healthcare sector last year, helped contribute to the increase, consulting firm Bain & Co. said in the report released Tuesday.
Overall, the healthcare industry outpaced other sectors in deal activity last year, showcasing record expansion and higher volume than in the two preceding record-setting years, despite a 14% decline in overall transaction volume across private equity globally, according to the Bain report.
Bain also highlighted a roughly 16% increase in global healthcare exits, to 146 last year from 126 in 2019, while the total disclosed value of those deals jumped 79% to $73.1 billion in 2020 from $40.8 billion in 2019. Bain found that the share of exits involving traditional IPOs or SPAC deals climbed to 25% from an average of 12% over the previous five years, partially driven by the rise in blank-check companies focused on the sector.
Last year, 56 non-transacted healthcare-focused SPACs raised capital, according to Nirad Jain, a partner at Bain. He said that SPAC deals began showing up in the sector last year as well—such as the deal to take healthcare provider Cano Health LLC public via a Barry Sternlicht -backed SPAC, Jaws Acquisition Corp. The deal, which gave the company an enterprise value of $4.4 billion, was announced in November. Public-market exits are expected to continue into this year with multiple blank-check vehicles scanning private-equity portfolios for possible targets, according Mr. Jain.
In its report, Global Healthcare Private Equity and M&A Report 2021, Bain noted that periods of high market volatility and uncertain macroeconomic conditions helped to make SPACs “a relatively more attractive exit option.”