Sage to buy Emdeons Practice Services unit

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Sage Software last week announced plans to purchase Emdeon Practice Services (EPS), based in Tampa, Fla., from Emdeon Inc. for approximately $565 million. The acquisition is expected to be completed in September. 
           
Upon completion of the acquisition ESP, which supplies software and services for doctors' practices in the U.S., will become part of Sage's North American operations. The acquisition is a move by Sage to shift into the health IT sector.
           
"The growing doctors' practices market provides opportunities to offer an integrated Sage solution to both new and existing Sage customers in the U.S., covering accounting, health records and practice management,” said Paul Walker, chief executive, Sage. “Emdeon Practice Services will now form the basis for a new doctors' practice division, which we aim to grow both organically and through further acquisitions," he added.
           
ESP currently has 20,000 customers largely comprised of small or medium-sized businesses. The division’s software is used in practice management and in the maintenance of patient data. This includes administrative and financial processes such as appointment scheduling, prescriptions and billing, together with the creation and management of electronic health records. EPS support services include software maintenance and, additionally, access to electronic medical transaction services such as those facilitating claims to healthcare insurers, the company said.
           
It is planned that Sage will cross-sell its accounts software to ESP customers and vice-versa, the companies said, which will be facilitated by progressive integration between accounting and practice management.
           
EPS revenue for 2005 was approximately $304.5 million, and $295.9 million in 2004.