Medical device industry mergers and acquisitions (M&As) were at an all-time high in 2014, research by GlobalData, an international consulting firm, shows. According to GlobalData, the past year saw 96 M&As in the sector, 18.5% more than in 2013.

The largest deal in 2014 was conducted by Medtronic, a US medical device firm that, in June, announced plans to acquire Covidien, an Irish competitor at $42.9bn. Just two months later, Zimmer Holdings, an Indiana-based medical firm acquired its local rival Biomet for $13.4bn, Carlyle Group a global asset management firm acquired Ortho Clinical Diagnostics for $4.2bn and Smith & Nephew, a UK medical manufacturer bought ArthoCare, a Texas-based surgical devices firm for $1.7bn.

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The high number of M&As in 2014 stems from the fact that medtech companies were busy, not only with mega-mergers, but also with expanding their product portoflios by acquiring smaller companies, GlobalData experts said. “A considerable number of deals in 2014 involved larger companies swallowing up smaller ones with novel technologies that were clinically proven to be superior to existing devices,” Niharika Midha, GlobalData analyst said, upon publishing the research.

In 2015, the biggest players in the medtech sector are expected to compete aggressively following this big spike in M&As. “This definitely sets the tone for the coming year, as the medical device industry consolidates into fewer prominent players that directly compete with each other and innovation is fueled by heightened demand,” Ms Midha said.