MORGAN STANLEY: Here are the 10 healthcare companies most likely to get bought this year

It’s shaping up to be a big year for healthcare mergers and acquisitions.

January alone saw $US27.5 billion worth of deals, including a $US9 billion deal for a cancer drugmaker and a bidding war for a Belgian biotech.

The new US tax law has freed up a lot of cash companies had overseas – cash that can be spent on more acquisitions to boost their businesses.

While it’s easy to determine who may be in the mood to do some acquiring, spotting the targets can be a bit more difficult.

To help out, Morgan Stanley compiled a list of large and liquid companies it thinks will get at least one tender offer over the next 12 months. While the Morgan Stanley note contained 21 companies, we stuck to just the top 10 by market cap and trading volume.


Mylan

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Ticker:
MYL

Company summary: Mylan, known for its generic drug business and as the maker of the EpiPen, got a boost in October when the Food and Drug Administration approved its generic version of the multiple-sclerosis drug Copaxone.

Market cap: $US22.7 billion


Iqvia Holdings

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Ticker: IQV

Company summary: Iqvia, formerly known as Quintiles IMS Holdings, does clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies and also analyses industry data. It’s one of the largest contract research organisations, companies that have been going through a lot of M&A.

Market cap: $23.1 billion


Edwards Lifesciences

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Ticker:
EW

Company summary: Edwards Lifesciences is a medical device company that makes artificial heart valves and other devices used in surgical procedures.

Market cap: $US23.8 billion


Zimmer Biomet

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Ticker:
ZBH

Company summary: Zimmer Biomet is a medical device company that makes products used in knee and hip replacements and other surgical procedures.

Market cap: $US24.4 billion


Alexion Pharmaceuticals

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Ticker:
ALXN

Company summary: Alexion, a rare-disease drugmaker, has been under pressure from activist investors to get its stock up, and both its CEO and its CFO left the company in 2017.

Market cap: $US26.6 billion


HCA Healthcare

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Ticker:
HCA

Company summary: HCA, an abbreviation for Hospital Corporation of America, operates 177 hospitals and 119 surgery centres in the US and the UK and other facility-based companies.

Market cap: $US31.3 billion


Illumina

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Ticker:
ILMN

Company summary: The gene-sequencing company Illumina makes technology that has dramatically brought down the cost of reading all the information in your genome.

Market cap: $US31.9 billion


Boston Scientific

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Ticker:
BSX

Company summary: Boston Scientific is a medical device company known for its pacemakers and medical equipment.

Market cap: $US34 billion


Express Scripts

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Ticker:
ESRX

Company summary: Express Scripts is a pharmacy benefits manager, or a company that negotiates discounts to drug prices for health plans in the form of rebates. Express Scripts is the largest standalone PBM, and its stock has been weathering news that Amazon is interested in getting into healthcare.

Market cap: $42.2 billion


Allergan

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Ticker: AGN

Company summary: Allergan, the drugmaker behind Botox, had an interesting 2017. The company struck an unusual deal with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to transfer patents of the eye drug Restasis. The move drew a lot of backlash.

Market cap: $54.4 billion

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