Health care mergers increase

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 15, 2007

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Mergers and acquisitions involving health care companies worldwide are set to reach a six-year high. At least $237.6 billion in deals were announced in 2006, the Financial Times newspaper reported. The numbers come from Dealogic, a company that tracks worldwide financial trends.

In 2005, the volume of deals was at $193.7 billion, according to the data Dealogic supplied to the Financial Times. The deal flow has more than doubled since 2003, when $112.5 billion in health care deals was announced.

The boom in leveraged buyouts is behind much of the activity, according to Dealogic. The buyout for hospital chain HCA alone was worth $33 billion.

Absent from the activity, for the most part, were the nation's largest health plans, which spent 2006 absorbing the spree of acquisitions they made the previous few years.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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