Most health care investors expect the number of mergers and acquisitions in that sector to increase, analysts report.

The analysts, at the Mergermarket Group, New York, have prepared a health care M&A review based interviews with about 75 U.S. health care investors.

About 80% predicted health care sector M&A activity will increase in the coming 12 months, and 16% predicted activity will “increase significantly.”

About 65% said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other health system change efforts will have the biggest effect on health care provider and payer M&A activity. Only 5% cited opportunities to acquire distressed businesses as the biggest driver.

The percentage of investors expecting ACA passage to spur health care M&A activity in specific sectors ranged from 52% for medical device sector to 83% for the health care provider/payer sector.

Participants expect private equity buyouts and mergers of equals to be the most common types of health care provider/payer deals.

-wh