Amwell, a telehealth company which went public recently, is following the well-trod path to try to convince investors it has a business which justifies the valuation by buying two other companies with iffy futures. One is Conversa Health, which helps providers with health messaging and visits, and the other is SilverCloud health, which does virtual mental health visits. To show you how desperate these newly public companies are, Amwell is paying $320 million for businesses which have a combined $15 million in revenue this year. That's right, lets pay over 20 times revenue.
Clinical research organizations help drug companies do the trials to get approval for new products or new indications for existing products, and some help with commercialization services. As with many businesses, the larger ones have tended to cycle between being public companies and being owned by private equity firms. Parexel is one of those firms and is being sold by one PE firm to another one for $8.5 billion.
Olive (is it a vegetable or isn't it?), which offers data analytic services for hospitals and health systems, with a focus on AI, raises another $400 million. The company has raised over $900 million in capital in total and is valued at close to $2 billion. Froth, froth, froth.
Paceline raises a fresh $29.5 million in financing to support the 400th company supposedly helping consumers get more engaged in their health and wellness. Great return coming for those investors, not.
More indications of M & A froth. Health Catalyst, a database and analytics firm, is buying Twistle, which offers patient engagement software, for $104 million. Health Catalyst, which has generally floundered since going public, and still loses lots of money, clearly is trying to find some way to add sizzle to its business.
In a sign that perhaps the capital markets for health care payers and services may return to some semblance of sanity, Bright Health, an insurer and manager of provider networks, went public at around $18 a share, well below the pricing range it was seeking, and in a truly bad sign, declined in price by the end of the day. Similar experience to Oscar Health, which went public earlier this year. These new insurers have to compete with monsters like UnitedHealth, Aetna, Cigna and Anthem, and they will struggle to ever make money that justifies their share price.
Large health insurers have increasingly become providers of care as well, in another sign of consolidation in the health care system that should concern everyone, as the quality and cost implications are usually not good. Humana furthered its march into home care by buying onehome (isn't that cute, no capitals in its name) to add to its CenterWell division.
Primary care has been all the rage for several years, with a slight interruption by the epidemic. We are beginning to see more deals for primary care businesses, as Cano Health, which offers care to Medicare patients and recently went public, says it is buying University Health, a primary care network in South Florida, for $600 million.
The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].