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UnitedHealth Group gets UK regulatory nod to proceed with $1.52 billion EMIS acquisition

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 03, 2023
Business Affairs European News Health IT
The Competition and Markets Authority in the U.K. has approved UnitedHealth Group's acquisition of EMIS.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the U.K. has found that UnitedHealth Group's (UHG) £1.24 billion ($1.52 billion) acquisition of health technology company EMIS poses no threat to competitors, giving UHG the green light to move forward with the deal.

UHG announced the acquisition in June 2022, saying that EMIS would come under the management of its Optum UK division, allowing it to provide better services to the country’s National Health System, reported Reuters.

"We are delighted that the CMA has provided unconditional clearance for Optum UK’s proposed acquisition of EMIS Group and look forward to completing the transaction in the coming weeks. We remain focused on supporting the long-term success of the NHS. Our aim is to help make the U.K. health care system work better for GPs and patients alike," a spokesperson from Optum UK told HCB News.

EMIS specializes in software development for operational and data management support for primary care, community pharmacy, and A&E care settings among others. It supplies electronic health record systems to the majority of NHS GPs in the U.K., while Optum provides software used by GPs to prescribe medicine, data analytics, and advisory services.

The announcement led to a two-phase investigation. The first identified concerns that the merger risked reducing competition, creating worse outcomes in the NHS. In response, UHG proposed divesting Optum UK’s domestic Medicines Optimisation and Population Health Management businesses, but CMA rejected the offer, saying it did not go far enough.

CMA appointed an independent panel to carry out Phase 2, which found the deal posed no competition concerns between specialist healthcare technology and software companies that provide services to the NHS.

“After carefully considering a broad range of evidence, we have provisionally found that this deal is not expected to harm competition or adversely affect patients,” said Kirstin Baker, chair of the independent inquiry panel, in a statement made by CMA at the end of the Phase 2 investigation in August.

Optum and EMIS do not compete with one another directly. Optum uses data that EMIS holds and integrates its own software with EMIS’ EHR system to compete in various markets, including population health management services and medicine optimization software sales.

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