Globally, healthcare private equity deal volume increased by 21% year-over-year to 380 deals last year, compared with 313 in 2019, according to a new Bain & Co. report on the state of global healthcare private equity in 2020. That's even as private equity activity across all sectors fell 14%.
"Personally I was shocked to see that volume was so high in 2020 just given all the unfortunate circumstances with the global pandemic," said Nirad Jain, co-head of Bain's global healthcare private equity and corporate M&A practices.
Less surprising to Jain was the report's finding that healthcare deal value fell 17% year-over-year to $66 billion in 2020, from $79 billion in 2019. Deal value was up from 2018, however, when it was $64 billion.
Jain said that's partly because 2019's total was skewed by the blockbuster $10.1 billion Nestle Skin Health acquisition. Not only that, it's likely that—given the turmoil caused by COVID-19—owners of valuable assets chose to hold onto them rather than sell. And the rise of special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, likely pulled away some assets that would otherwise have been subject to private equity investment, he said.