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Healthcare and life sciences is a robust market. Though it’s not immune to the economic and geopolitical headwinds affecting all industries, its underlying strength will continue to promote dealmaking.

Following a robust 2018, dealmaking activity in the sector softened in 2019.

Our Global Transactions Forecast, compiled in collaboration with Oxford Economics, reflects this. We expect healthcare M&A values to total USD 391 billion in 2019 – a rise from USD 366 billion the previous year.

healthcare forecast chart

The cautious mood that defined 2019 will sustain into 2020. Our forecast is for M&A values to slow in 2020, to USD 267 billion.

Ben McLaughlin, Chair of Baker McKenzie’s Global Healthcare & Life Sciences Group, says macro forces are driving this slowdown, not sector-specific causes.

“The US election, stock markets at an all-time high, trade tensions between the US and China, and the ongoing Brexit uncertainty — these factors are holding investors back.”

The good news is that the deceleration should be more muted than in other industries. Then starting in 2021, we expect a recovery in M&A and IPO volumes, as the global economy stabilizes and investor confidence returns.


Jane E. Hobson is a partner in Baker Mckenzie's London office. She works in the Firm's London Corporate group, is a member of the Global M&A Practice Group, and focuses on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, licensing transactions and joint ventures in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector.


Ben McLaughlin is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Sydney office. He has over 25 years' experience in advising leading Australian and international public companies on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and equity capital markets. Ben invented the Baker McKenzie Healthcare MapApp, an acclaimed mobile application that enables clients to access over 5,000 pages of legal summaries. He has been recognized by Chambers for his work in Australian and international M&A matters, as well as in healthcare and life sciences. Ben has also been recognised as "Lawyer of the Year" for Life Sciences Practice in Sydney and as one of the Best Lawyers in Australia for Corporate / Corporate Governance and M&A Law, Best Lawyers 2022 Edition. Ben is admitted to practice law in Australia and the US, and previously practised as a CPA.


Randall Sunberg is a partner in the Corporate & Securities Practice Group and the Life Sciences Industry Group. He also serves as the co-head of the North America Life Sciences practice. Randy structures and negotiates complex collaborations, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, and corporate partnering and licensing transactions, as well as equity investments and royalty monetization transactions for clients ranging from biotech startups to multinational pharmaceutical companies.


Tracy Wut is the managing partner for Baker McKenzie's China and Hong Kong offices. She is experienced in mergers and acquisitions and foreign direct investments in China. She regularly acts for clients in complex cross-border transactions, in particular in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare sector, and navigates clients through various issues relating to investments in China. She has been recommended as a leading lawyer in Corporate/M&A by Chambers Global, Corporate/M&A and Life Sciences by Chambers Asia and M&A and private equity by IFLR1000. She is the co-head of the Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Industry Group in China and Hong Kong.