2014 is on track to be the most active year for healthcare mergers and acquisitions in decades, with the worldwide value of healthcare-related deals reaching $438 billion—about 14 percent of the value of all business M&A.

Likewise, the health IT sector in 2014 is at its highest level of M&A activity (in terms of dollars) in years. Of the top M&A transactions, the largest deal by far was the $12.2 billion acquisition (cash and stock) of CareFusion, which sells a variety of patient monitors, supply chain management systems and medical supplies, by BD, a global manufacturer of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products.

This was followed by the $2.7 billion acquisition of TriZetto, a provider of health IT software and solutions that help payers and providers work more efficiently, by Cognizant, a multinational information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing company. Next was the $1.3 billion acquisition of Siemens’ hospital information systems business line of Siemens Healthcare, Siemens Health Services, by Cerner, a major provider of healthcare IT solutions.

In a $600 million cash transaction, Optum, the IT and business services unit of UnitedHealth Group announced that it is buying health management vendor Alere Health, which provides services to more than 200 regional and local health plans, 89 Fortune 500 employers and 29 states, covering about 22 million people in the U.S. Also of note is health insurer Aetna’s announcement that it has entered into an agreement to acquire private health insurance exchange operator bswift for $400 million.

Another top deal involved Conifer Health Solutions, a provider of business process management solutions for healthcare providers and a subsidiary of Tenet Healthcare Corporation, which acquired SPi Healthcare, a provider of healthcare revenue cycle management and physician billing services, for $235 million. The list of top disclosed transactions includes revenue/payment cycle management and clinical information exchange vendor Emdeon’s acquisition of consumer education, transparency, and engagement developer Change Healthcare for $185 million.  

Not be excluded is the $142 million acquisition of Sg2, a provider of healthcare market intelligence, strategic analytics and clinical consulting services, by MedAssets, a healthcare performance improvement company. And, consulting firm Navigant acquired Cymetrix, a vendor of outsourced revenue cycle management and health information management services to hospitals, for approximately $75 million.

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