Healthcare deals reach $156B so far this year, marking busiest start in more than a decade

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Healthcare companies have announced transactions totaling about $156 billion in the first three months of 2018, making this the biggest first quarter for healthcare mergers and acquisitions in more than 10 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg highlighted several major transactions announced in the first quarter, including significant activity in the pharmaceutical sector. Just this week, GlaxoSmithKline announced plans to purchase Novartis' 36.5 percent stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture for $13 billion. Takeda Pharmaceutical is also considering a possible acquisition of Shire, which has a market value of $45 billion. That deal would boost the healthcare sector's year-to-date transactions above $200 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The dealmaking trend is likely to continue as pharmaceutical companies, which faced uncertainties in 2017, can benefit from tax reform passed late last year.

"That combined with the fact that many companies in the sector still need to build their pipelines and deliver top line growth, we believe, will continue to drive M&A activity for pipeline and marketed products this year," Alan Montgomery, co-head of pharmaceutical and healthcare at the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, told Bloomberg.

More articles on healthcare industry transactions:

HCA looks to expand into North Carolina with acquisition of Mission Health
LifePoint sells 3 Louisiana hospitals
Ascension expands footprint with acquisition of Presence Health: 4 things to know

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