Dealmakers forecast soaring growth in health care M&A over the next 12 months, as buyers continue to seek innovations to meet the market demands created by the Affordable Care Act, according to Mergers & Acquisitions' Mid-Market Pulse (MMP), a forward-looking sentiment indicator, derived from monthly surveys of approximately 250 executives and published in partnership with McGladrey LLP. (See related graphic.)

The 3-month composite score for the health care sector was 91.2, the highest score we've seen since launching the MMP in the May 2014 issue of Mergers & Acquisitions. The 12-month composite score of 85.3 for the sector was also high. Transaction pros were also bullish on overall M&A.

The three-month composite score for overall M&A was 80.6, and the 12-month score was 74.1. The factors cited as contributing to the optimism include: consumer confidence, which reached a 10-year high in the first quarter; an uptick in actionable leads; and an urgency to close deals before a potential rise in interest rates later in the year.

Previous sector forecasts include manufacturing, energy, consumer goods and retail, TMT and financial services.

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