• Insight Bite


Optum Merges with Change to Create Healthcare Analytics Powerhouse

Following a resurgence in software dealmaking in the second half of 2020, the new year has been marked by a megadeal in healthcare analytics.

Optum, UnitedHealth Group’s rapidly growing analytics subsidiary, is acquiring tech firm Change Healthcare in a $13 billion deal to create a healthcare analytics powerhouse.

Change Healthcare develops data analytics that assist with reporting and risk adjustment, help healthcare providers boost patient engagement, and improve post-clinical communication. These tools represent an opportunity for Optum to extend its existing analytical infrastructure into every aspect of medical care, reflecting a broader industry shift towards data-driven decision making.

“This opportunity is about advancing connectivity and accelerating innovations and efficiencies essential to a simpler, more intelligent and adaptive health system,” said President and CEO of Change Healthcare Neil de Crescenzo, who will lead the combined organisation as OptumInsight’s chief executive officer. “We share with Optum a common mission and values, and, importantly, a sense of urgency to provide our customers and those they serve with the more robust capacities this union makes possible.”

For Optum, which has often used acquisition to stay ahead of the curve, the purchase represents a push into another key growth area. The healthcare firm has invested heavily in deals aimed at expanding its market presence, acquiring urgent care operator MedExpress in 2015, Surgical Care Affiliates in 2017, and the primary care focused DaVita Medical Group in 2019 – along with numerous other investments and acquisitions targeted at new technologies.

More broadly, the acquisition is the latest kick in a steady beat of software deal making. Increasing numbers of acquisitions, investments, and strategic partnerships are being inked as companies switch focus from bracing for pandemic impact, to capitalising on surging demand, high valuations, and readily available financing.

These conditions are widely expected to accelerate the pace of dealmaking into 2021, leading to more acquisitions like this one across both healthcare analytics and the broader software industry.

“Optum’s acquisition of Change Healthcare highlights four trends that we expect to proliferate during 2021: consolidation in health technology and software, continuing evolution of data & analytics in key verticals, buyers having the confidence to do larger, transformative deals and deals enjoying robust valuation dynamics (Optum paying 8.3x revenues).”

Richard Baker | Managing Partner

Richard is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Acuity Advisors with 25 years’ experience in all aspects of corporate finance.

Having held influential leadership, corporate development and consulting roles at JPMorgan, Monitor and Diageo plc, Richard has had great insight into the world’s most successful businesses. He has extensive experience working alongside investment banks on M&A transactions across the technology sector and has deep-rooted longstanding relationships with many venture capital and private equity investors.

Richard has been instrumental in building Acuity’s Deep Tech Practice which, along with our successes in the semiconductor sector, has firmly established Acuity as the most successful Deep Tech mid-market advisor. With many notable funding and exit mandates completed, clients have come to rely on Richard’s sector insight to help shape and deliver shareholder value.

Insight is one of Richard’s notable strengths. He very quickly grasps what drives a company’s bottom line and growth, an understanding that’s bolstered by his personal experience of running and then exiting his own business. Richard easily builds strong working relationships with potential buyers and has a keen and intuitive sense for what motivates them.

Since securing a first class degree in Economics with Statistics, Richard has worked extensively in Europe, the US and Asia, creating an enviable and comprehensive international network.

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