Your Primer to Healthcare Mergers and Acquisitions

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Healthcare Sectors, Market Trends
Reflections on Healthcare M&A in 2021 and Expectations for 2022

Every January, as we begin conversations with healthcare business owners who are considering the sale of their companies, we are often asked about the previous year's market and what predictions we can offer for the new year.  2021 offered some continuing challenges due to the ongoing global pandemic, but there was still significant activity in healthcare M&A.  While 2022 is still just days old, VERTESS is keenly aware of developing trends that we believe will continue throughout the year. As each VERTESS team member has a long history in specific healthcare sectors, we are reviewing the previous year for each of those sectors as well as some projections for 2022. 

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Exit Planning
Selling Your Healthcare Business: The Buyer's Perspective

them telling me they’ve heard of similar companies selling for extraordinarily high prices. Those prices are often expressed as a multiple of revenue or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). They’ll apply a multiple to their business and tell me they’d be happy to sell at that price. While this is not an unreasonable approach, oftentimes the multiples they’re using are not realistic.

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Healthcare Sectors, Market Trends
SUD Treatment Industry Trends and Developments

We recently heard of an investor bidding more than 20x forward-EBITDA on a residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment center with a 30-day due diligence period. This caught our attention. More poignant was that this bidder lost the deal to another investor.

It is no new news that SUD treatment providers across multiple segments are currently worth more than they ever have been historically. When Pitchbook released its 2021 Q3 report on the behavioral health vertical, we learned that in only nine months, more deals and more deal value were transacted than the previous best year on record in 2019. Some experts anticipate 2021 to finish at least 40% higher in both metrics than 2019, and SUD treatment — residential treatment, in particular — makes up a substantial portion of that activity, due to extraordinary utilization of benefits and new product designs from insurance carriers that promote mental health reimbursements such as Anthem’s “Behavioral Health Advantage” plan that is expected to launch in 2022.

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Healthcare Sectors, Valuation
Understanding and Valuing a Freestanding Emergency Department

Freestanding emergency departments (FSED) have seen substantial growth over the past two decades. Research published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine states that the National Emergency Department Inventory determined in 2001 that about 1% of all emergency departments (ED) in the United States were FSEDs. Fast forward to 2016 and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported that FSEDs had accounted for 11% of all EDs nationwide. Grand View Research is projecting that the U.S. FSED market size, which was valued at around $3 billion in 2019, is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 5% from 2020-2027.

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Exit Planning
Planning for Partnership Problems: Why Your Business Depends On It

I have recently encountered a few situations where partners in a business do not agree on the current plan for the company, with one partner(s) is ready to sell while the other(s) is not. This is often a situation unanticipated by entrepreneurs when they decide to become partners in a business. This is not surprising. After all, the focus at the time of the partnership is usually the start of the business rather than its potential or eventual conclusion. Thus, there is rarely a conversation about the end game — the exit when one or all owners are ready to retire or move on to the next start of their career.

A business partnership where owners have equal stake in the company can lead to a plethora of problems from disagreements in operations to exit strategies. Whether you're just starting out or already functioning as a super team, it's never too early to discuss the "what ifs" for future decisions. But wait too long and it can't be too late!

Mike Gillette is a friend, colleague, and a lawyer and shareholder at Polsinelli (mgillette@polsinelli.com) who has helped many of my sellers transact. I asked him to share some insight from a legal perspective into how co-owners of a business should address issues that develop around disagreement about the future for the company. The following section summarizes his thoughts.

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Exit Planning, Healthcare Sectors
Medtrade Edition - Selling Your DME Business: How to Time the Market for an Exit

Is it possible for the owner of a durable medical equipment (DME) company to time the market to maximize an exit? That depends. Successful transactions come together when the following three conditions are in sync:
1. The business is ready for external scrutiny.
2. The owner is personally ready for a transition.
3. The timing of the capital market (macro) and the DME market (micro) are favorable.

The seller and a merger and acquisition (M&A) intermediary can influence control over the first two of these conditions. The third condition, on the other hand, requires a bit of luck. Let's take a closer look at these conditions and their importance in a successful transaction.

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Exit Planning, Healthcare Sectors
The Story of My Sale: Spero Recovery

I recently joined VERTESS as a managing director. I'll be providing merger and acquisition (M+A) and consulting services primarily to the behavioral health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment markets. Like many of my new colleagues, I previously owned and operated a company in the space I will be working in for VERTESS. But that's not all: I also have firsthand, personal experience with substance misuse.

In this column, I'll share a little about this journey with you, how it motivated me to open my company, and several of the key lessons I learned from the sales process.

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Healthcare Sectors
Good Hope Manor: Getting Rewarded for Doing Good

The story of Good Hope Manor is one that's easy to get behind. Launched in 2003 by Linda and Chris Witzlib, Good Hope Manor is an intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) company providing residential and day supports to adults via six integrated, community-based group homes around Wisconsin.

Good Hope Manor earned its reputation of providing the highest quality residential care to its clients. The team offers all types of services for mentally handicapped individuals and provides a supportive environment regardless of a client's medical conditions. Every resident is treated like a member of the family and receives a wide range of services that can include special diet plans, diabetic care with insulating administration, independent living therapy, transportation, entertainment, music and pet therapy, and hospice care.

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Healthcare Sectors, Valuation
What's the Value of Your Dental Practice?

Few dentists are aware of the market value of their dental practice. Moreover, most don’t understand how industry experts (e.g., accountants, bankers, dental practice brokers, and buyers) determine the value of dental practices.

In this column, I'll be helping you better understand how the value of a dental practice is determined. Let’s begin with some of the key performance indicators that buyers look for when evaluating dental practices.

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Exit Planning, Market Trends
How to Keep COVID-19 From Infecting Your Company's Value

The world of healthcare mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has experienced a significant rollercoaster these past two years, primarily due to the events of COVID-19. Before the pandemic locked down our communities, M&A, particularly in the health and human services space, was experiencing a significant increase in activity. This was caused by several factors. Among them: Existing organizations — or strategic buyers — were witnessing the benefits of growth through acquisition to compete with larger businesses and prepare for managed care, while private equity investors saw this field as one worth investing in. With an excess of cash reserves (i.e., "dry powder"), these private equity investors started spending.

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Exit Planning, Market Trends
Dialing for Dollars: What Sellers Must Know Before Answering the Phone

Does this sound familiar: The phone rings. You answer, and on the other end is someone who tells you that they represent a company eager to purchase your healthcare business.
These kinds of calls are happening every day, with some businesses receiving multiple calls a week. On the surface, these might seem like good calls to receive. After all, if someone is interested in buying your business, you must be running a good operation. And if you've been considering whether it's the right time to sell your business, such a call might be an avenue forward for you.
But seller beware: While it's good to answer the phone and hear what's presented to you, moving ahead on a transaction with a cold caller could be fraught with risk. Let me explain why.

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Healthcare Sectors, Market Trends, Valuation
Retail Pharmacy Update: Opportunities, Challenges, and Valuations

Prior to the pandemic, the retail pharmacy industry was experiencing significant disruption. We were witnessing a steady increase in transactions and consolidation, Amazon's entry into the market, significant changes to strategic alliances between major payers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and the introduction of a wide array of new technologies, just to name a few noteworthy trends and developments. It's safe to say that COVID-19 not only disrupted some of these disruptors, but it also brought with it new disruptors.

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