Private equity investors have been selling or taking public portfolio companies in the healthcare services industry at an increased clip over the past several years. Since the beginning of 2008, PE firms have exited 146 U.S.-based companies in the industry, according to the PitchBook Platform. 2012 and 2011 were the strongest years in terms of exit activity in the timeframe (39 and 35 exits, respectively), and 2012's 39 exits more than tripled the 11 registered in 2009. This year has already seen 27 such exits, surpassing the 26 registered in 2010.
Secondary buyouts made up the majority of the exits last year, the first time since 2008 that sponsor-to-sponsor transactions accounted for more than half of a year's healthcare services exit activity. 2009 saw just three secondary buyouts all year, which accounted for only 27% of the year's exits compared to corporate acquisitions at 55% and IPOs at 18%. Corporate acquisitions, on the other hand, have been noticeably steady over the years, providing about half of any given year's exits going back to 2009.
PE investors have already exited more laboratory service providers in 2013 (6) than they did in 2011 and 2012 combined. On the flip-side, clinics/outpatient service providers have accounted for a smaller percentage of exit activity in 2013 than they have in any year going back to 2009. This year, only six exits have been completed in the sector (accounting for 22% of the year's healthcare services exits), compared to nine exits in 2010 (reflecting 35% of that year's healthcare services exits).