Published today, Equiteq’s inaugural healthcare and life sciences consulting global M&A report provides exclusive acquisition and valuation insights for consulting firm owners considering a sale. The data reviews M&A, investor and equity market activity in 2017, as well as over the last ten-years. Our unique insights are informed by our regular detailed conversations with the leading serial acquirers of healthcare and life sciences consulting businesses. The following is a brief overview of the key themes from the report, the full version of which can be found here.
Healthcare M&A activity at a glance
371 completed deals in 2017, down 12% year-on-year
Median deal value of $21m, up 14% year-on-year
24% of deals were cross-border
The Equiteq Healthcare Consulting Share Price Index rose28%, while the S&P 500 gained 18%
There were large variations in deal flow among healthcare consulting segments, with stronger activity occurring in spaces like data & analytics and strategy consulting to life sciences companies. The number of completed deals fell, but the median size of transaction rose substantially, indicating that buyers were focused on a smaller number of larger deals.
M&A activity is strong for specialized operational management consulting businesses that provide innovative, data-driven process improvement and cost reduction solutions
We continue to receive feedback from the most prolific buyers of knowledge-intensive services firms that expertise in helping healthcare providers with process improvement and operational efficiency is of high strategic importance for growth. A confluence of demographic, economic and regulatory drivers are forcing providers to improve care standards and enable efficiencies. Providers are also increasingly being compelled to invest in new digital technologies that can create data-driven productivity improvements and competitive advantages. These industry trends are driving strong demand and premium valuations for well-positioned operational consulting firms working with healthcare providers. Equiteq experienced this demand first hand in its sale of c3/consulting to Ankura. c3 has a track record of providing management consulting services to a variety of leading healthcare organizations in the US.
Buyers are paying premiums for specialized strategy consulting businesses that provide impactful product commercialization solutions for life sciences companies
Based on our in-depth discussions with global buyers and the recent flurry of M&A activity, acquisition demand for life sciences strategy consultancies is exceptionally high. Recent landmark acquisitions by both strategic and financial buyers were struck at premium valuation levels – and as the supply of high-quality acquisition targets continues to dwindle, valuation levels of independent consultancies of scale could rise even further.
Those in marketing communications (marcoms), understand the value in delivering a clear message to the right audience, in the right way, and at the right time. The developments seen in the health and life sciences sector in recent years have created significant demand for marcoms services. Expertise range from the design of patient portals for health care providers, to effective and compliant strategies for pharmaceuticals and data-informed messaging for self-managed care devices.
Marcoms agencies that have adapted well against this transformative backdrop have seen high demand for their services and, in some cases, their entire business.
Here we look at the current challenges marketing and communication firms are tackling for clients in the health sector, as well as the opportunities for specialist agencies looking for acquirers or Private Equity investment.
Over September, we observed high-profile deals from prolific knowledge-intensive services acquirers across a variety of transforming spaces of the consulting market, including digital transformation, Salesforce consulting, real estate advisory, benefits consulting and traditional business consulting. In the last month, Equiteq advised four of its clients on the sale of their business to the practice of a larger group.
Accenture acquired creative agency Wire Stone, which provides a range of strategy and marketing campaign services that develop digital consumer experiences. Wire Stone was founded in 2000 in San Francisco and has built a reputation for the use of technology and data to improve marketing campaign return on investment. The business has worked with a number of blue-chip clients including, Microsoft, HP, PayPal and eBay.
As highlighted in our latest quarterly M&A update, Accenture continues to be highly acquisitive and is developing Accenture Interactive’s capabilities and talent across marketing and consulting. According to a recent report by Adweek, Accenture Interactive’s projected 2017 revenue of $6bn places it above Havas Worldwide, although it is not a holding company and therefore does not rank among the “Big Six” of WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Havas, IPG and Dentsu.