2017 was a big year for investment bankers.
So was 2016.
So was 2015.
And so was 2016.
The past three years alone have seen more than 50,000 mergers and acquisitions deals. To put that into perspective, only 2007-2008 saw that many, and before that, the year 2000 peaked at only 40,000 deals. The past eleven years have shown over 500,000 mergers and acquisition deals, which is more than any similar time frame in recent history. All of that is to say the business world has seen a lot of shake-ups, both on a domestic and global level.
While the effects are still unclear on how these mergers will potentially change our healthcare system, the gears are moving. This past year saw a $68 billion deal between CVS and Aetna. Insurance companies have been attempting to consolidate, though they’ve met resistance from the antitrust authorities. Hospitals and pharmacy retailers, too, are using horizontal mergers to strengthen their businesses. The CVS-Aetna deal was unusual as a vertical merger, something that hasn’t been done very much in the healthcare industry, but it’s still an indication that the industry is changing.
Media mergers have been receiving a lot of attention in the news, especially with streaming services thrown into the mix, now. AT&T tried to acquire T-Mobile back in 2011 only to be blocked, but they continue to fight for their place. Most notably, they recently bid $85 billion for Time Warner. Disney is proposing to acquire 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets. Hulu and Netflix will go head to head as Disney shifts all its content to the former. Services are competing to be the most attractive around the world.
You probably heard about Amazon acquiring Whole Foods for $13 billion. Large retailers everywhere are feeling the effects of online shopping, and in an attempt to stay relevant and far away from bankruptcy, they are partnering with tech giants in hopes of remaining afloat. Between PetSmart acquiring Chewy.com, and Walmart acquiring Jet.com back in 2016, it’s obvious that consumers will be buying more and more online rather than in-store.
Technology itself is changing and merging together. Dell and EMC came together like Microsoft and LinkedIn. Apple, Facebook, and Google were noticeably quiet in 2017, but with Qualcomm on the market, that could very quickly change. As technology becomes more and more integrated with transportation, horizontal mergers continue to combine automotive and airline companies that started back in the 90s. The industrial conglomerates are changing, too. Only time will tell if General Electric will break itself up.