It’s been an incredibly busy January, and deal volume continues to pile up. Investor interest in physician groups has swelled in particular, as we reach 36 deals and counting. The hottest specialty so far has been for ophthalmology practices, which have accounted for seven deals so far this month. 

It’s a trend that has spilled over from 2020, when ophthalmology deals accounted for 22% of the 189 Physician Medical Group transactions announced last year. As other specialties, such as dental practices and dermatology groups, were hit hard by the pandemic, demand for cataract surgery and the ability to conduct eye exams and other routine care via telehealth grew, resulting in increasing demand for ophthalmology groups. 

Although transaction details were not disclosed, the largest ophthalmology merger of 2021 so far most likely was EyeSouth Partners‘ purchase of Midwest Eye Center (28 physicians). Midwest Eye Center provides primary eye care in addition to retina, glaucoma, cornea, oculoplastic and pediatric subspecialty care to many areas throughout Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. The practice has 20 ophthalmologists and eight medical optometrists, with 250 support staff across 19 clinical locations and two ambulatory surgery centers in the greater Cincinnati area. The affiliation represents EyeSouth’s first in the states of Ohio and Kentucky. 

EyeSouth Partners is backed by Shore Capital Partners, and the two have completed 18 transactions together, according to search results in our Healthcare Deals Database

Another notable ophthalmology deal came from EyeCare Partners, a portfolio company of Partners Group, adding EyeCare Associates of East Texas (12 physicians) for an undisclosed sum. EyeCare Associates of East Texas is a leading eye care provider in eastern Texas. The practice serves the community across four clinical locations and its own ambulatory surgical center with 12 providers supported by approximately 100 clinical and administrative staff. ECA provides comprehensive vision care in areas including cataract surgery, retina treatment, glaucoma treatment and Lasik surgery. The acquisition will result in the addition of EyeCare Associates of East Texas’s four Texas clinics to EyeCare Partners‘s national network. 

To read more on the physician group M&A market, check out our soon-to-be-published 2021 Health Care Services Acquisition Report.