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Top Device Stories of 2009: A Year of Economic Revival and Regulatory Risk

Executive Summary

2009 was the most difficult year the device industry faced in a long time, particularly given the boom years that preceded it. Public and private investors grew nervous and sat on the sidelines, as did most corporate acquirers. As a result, most start-ups found it difficult to raise money and VCs were frustrated by the poor returns being generated, especially compared with the previously frothy climate. The silver lining may be that there are signs that the economic environment may be improving and that corporate acquirers will continue to pay a premium for the right deal. Overhanging all of this, however, is the specter of health care reform and its impact on the device industry, whether through a device tax, comparative effectiveness or some unanticipated other result, meaning the industry is far from out of the woods.

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Advanced Medical Optics, Ablation Frontiers, Acclarent, CoreValve, Evalve, Visiogen.-no tip of the iceberg last year; they were just about the whole berg in medical device M&A. Starting with AMO last January and ending with Acclarent in December it would be easy to look at the series of impressive device acquisitions that took place last year and be lulled into the belief that 2009 was a banner year for medical device M&A. In fact, just the opposite was true: total deal values and numbers were at their lowest peak in more than half a decade. What does it take to get a company sold these days? To look more closely at the topic, we asked some folks who've recently been on either side of a deal to talk, not so much about the current state of deal-making, but about how successful deals come about in today's environment.

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