IMS Health/SDI integration is essentially approved by FTC; Thomson Reuters reassesses divestiture

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - January/February 2012

More reshuffling of healthcare-analytics market is in store

On Jan. 10, the US Federal Trade Commission finalized its agreement with IMS Health for its acquisition of SDI Health, consolidating two of the leaders in developing data on prescription sales and marketing (both companies also have consulting businesses). FTC required IMS Health to divest SDI’s medical audit and promotional audit businesses, because the two companies essentially owned those parts of the data market (it also noted that Cegedim SA has 2% of the promotional audit market). IMS Health will be required to sell those businesses to “an FTC-approved buyer.” SDI Health itself was, not long ago, the rollup of SDI and Verispan.

During the past year, Wolters Kluwer announced its intention to sell part of its life sciences analytics business. Meanwhile, Reuters reported in late December that its parent, Thomson Reuters (London) had suspended the sale of its healthcare data unit, which it had announced last June. The company said that it would continue to invest in the healthcare business “until improved market conditions allow the company to complete a divestiture at attractive terms.” The unit had sales of around $450 million in 2010, and there was an earlier report that InfoSys, the India-based IT firm, was considering buying it for $700-750 million. But around the time of the initial announcement, market analysts expected Thomson-Reuters could garner $1 billion or more from the unit.

Thomson-Reuters Healthcare is focused more on provider and insurance claims data as compared to IMS Health or SDI, but all three organizations provide analytics and services to life sciences companies. The suspension of the sale occurred soon after Thomson and Reuters formally completed their merger (which was announced in 2007), and the president, Jim Glocer, resigned from the firm.

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