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Healthcare M&A Annual Review 2023


A review of mergers and acquisitions and private equity deal activity across the UK healthcare sector in 2023.

We are pleased to release our annual healthcare M&A review, analysing M&A and private equity activity across the UK healthcare sector in 2023.

The report highlights the most active sub-sectors within the healthcare market and includes deep dives into various areas of interest, along with a month-by-month summary of the key deals across the market.



2023 Healthcare M&A Overview


Deal volumes


  • Despite challenges across the broader M&A market, the healthcare sector has maintained solid deal activity during 2023

  • Sale processes have generally been slower to complete, often due to greater funding scrutiny, but appetite remains strong from both acquirers and private equity investors

  • As the economy continues to settle and interest rates stabilise, we expect deal volumes to increase throughout 2024


A chart showing healthcare deal volumes by month.

Valuations


  • Valuations softened slightly in 2023, largely driven by increased debt costs as a result of interest rate rises

  • The impact has not been material, however, with quality healthcare businesses still demanding attractive valuations


Sub-sector activity


  • Digitisation of the health and social care sector, combined with continuous developments in telemedicine, have driven strong demand for established and profitable digital health operators

  • Clinical services transactions have seen a notable increase during the year, with NHS backlogs driving activity across outsourced and private pay services, as patients look for reduced waiting times and accessible services

  • As has remained the case in recent years, the residential care sector has maintained positive deal activity, spanning both elderly care and specialist care

  • Some areas of the market have slowed, however, with subdued activity in the dental sector due to interest rate impact and operational issues in various corporate acquirers


Split of deals by sector


A chart showing the split of transactions by sub-sector of the healthcare market.


Private Equity Activity


Private equity involvement


  • Private equity remains prevalent across the healthcare sector, attracted by the resilience and growth prospects of the market

  • As a result, over 50% of all transactions in 2023 had either direct or indirect involvement from private equity


Sub-sector focus


  • Platform deals have generally been centred around clinical services and digital health, as investors seek to capitalise on the significant growth opportunities in these areas

  • Bolt-on transactions are still generally concentrated in higher volume sectors such as specialist care and dental, but there have also been numerous deals in digital health and clinical services as private equity houses look to expand on their recent platform investments


Active funds


  • Whilst a broad range of mid-market private equity houses invest into the healthcare sector, activity in 2023 continued to be centred around funds that demonstrate expertise in the sector

  • Sector specialists such as G Square have therefore been prolific, alongside generalist funds with significant healthcare experience such as BGF, LivingBridge and August


Outlook


  • We expect the themes identified in 2023 to continue, with further platform investments in clinical services and digital health

  • As interest rates begin to decrease, we envisage a slight bounce back in valuations, with increased deal activity as founders seek to crystallise value in advance of the impending general election


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