BlueSprig Pediatrics, with the backing of KKR & Co. (NYSE: KKR), has been an active player in the M&A field. Since BlueSprig was formed in October 2018, it has reported five behavioral health care transactions in three different states, according to our Deal Search Online database. Now it has a foothold in Florida. Last week the company announced its acquisition of Florida Autism Center and Fusion Autism Center for $120 million.

Collectively called FAC, the group provides applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy services treating children with autism spectrum disorder.

This partnership will create a top-five national provider and the leading provider in the southern United States. BlueSprig and FAC will serve more than 1,800 families at nearly 110 clinics across 13 states. KKR is providing new capital from its Health Care Strategic Growth Fund to fund the merger and support the continued growth of the company.

In our recent interview with Gary Herschman, a member of Epstein Becker Green, he noted that “We’re seeing a lot of investment in autism spectrum disorders, particularly targeting companies that use applied behavior analysis.” This deal and a few others in 2020 underscore that point. In January, The Stepping Stones Group, a portfolio company of Five Arrows Capital Partners, partnered with Star of CA, a provider of home, community and school-based ABA therapy and mental health services in California. That was followed by Acorn Health’s acquisition of Autism University, which provides ABA services to children diagnosed with autism. Autism University was formerly a subsidiary of Crawl Walk Jump Run and Acorn Health (also formed in October 2018) is backed by MBF Healthcare Partners.

Aside from those transactions, there are a few others worth highlighting in 2020. In late February, we reported on Cimarron Healthcare Capital’s move into the sector with its purchase of Ascent Behavioral Health from Monroe Capital and Veronis Suhler Stevenson. And Summit BHC returned from its year and a half M&A hiatus, acquiring Peak View Behavioral Health, a 112-bed acute psychiatric and behavioral health hospital in Colorado Springs, the company’s 19th treatment center.