When the topic of health care sector mergers and acquisitions is raised, close attention is often paid to the biotechnology sub-sector.

Conventional wisdom dictates that cash-rich blue chip pharmaceuticals firms facing patent cliffs will use some of that cash to acquire biotech firms and the blockbuster treatments produce by the those companies. If the recent slide in biotech shares proves to be an ongoing trend, a new round of biotech M&A mania could be seen. [Momentum ETFs Visit the Woodshed]

But biotech is not the only health care sub-industry investors to look to for potential takeover targets. Research from Morgan Stanley produced 44 multi-billion dollar companies that could be takeover candidates over the next year. Morgan Stanley used criteria such as low dividend yields, lower price-to-book ratios, liquidity and debt/equity ratios, reports Wallace Witkowski for MarketWatch.

The results turned up a slew of names that dwell in the iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF (NYSEArca: IHF), an ETF made famous for its utility as an Obamacare trade. [A Soaring Obamacare ETF]

Among the health care takeover candidates identified by Morgan Stanley are Express Scripts (NasdaqGS: ESRX), WellPoint (NYSE: WLP), Cigna (NYSE: CI) and Aetna, according to MarketWatch.

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