First-quarter healthcare M&A values soar, though skewed

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The price of merger and acquisitions deals in the healthcare sector skyrocketed to $92.3 billion dollars for 201 deals, according to a report released by Irving Levin Associates. That's nearly the same amount of money that was used to finance all of the 923 deals in 2003.

However, one deal, valued at $65.5 billion, skewed the entire study: the French company Sanofi-Synthelabo SA's proposed acquisition of Aventis SA, which would create the world's third largest pharmaceutical company. The deal has not yet closed.

For long-term care, there were merely 11 deals in the first quarter, compared with 27 the year-ago quarter.