EMIS takes over Ascribe for £57.5m

13 September 2013

EMIS Group plc, the UK's leading software provider for GP practices, has bought pharmacy systems supplier Ascribe from private equity group ECI.

Ascribe was taken private by ECI from the AIM market in January 2009 in a £33m public-to-private-transaction. Today’s deal provides an initial consideration of £57.5m with further monies due contingent on short term performance.

Over 70% of NHS Trusts in the UK, as well as healthcare providers in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, use Ascribe solutions whose products include eprescribing, pharmacy, mental health, patient administration and A&E systems.

As a public company, Ascribe undertook a series of acquisitions enabling it to become a strategically important player in the provision of clinical software solutions within the secondary care market, both in the UK and in certain international markets. Following the completion of the P2P transaction it has integrated these acquisitions from both an operational and technological perspective.

EMIS Group, which has annual revenue of £24m, has placed 4.4m shares in its capital to raise £26.3m to fund part of the acquisition. Further payments up to £3.0m may be made to ACI in one year dependent on certain targets being achieved.

Chris Spencer, Chief Executive Officer of EMIS Group, said,
“The acquisition of Ascribe represents a significant milestone in our stated strategy of providing clinically led, integrated, cross-organisational healthcare systems, and represents a rare opportunity to acquire multiple significant positions in an adjacent but not overlapping market.

“We believe that there are significant growth prospects for the combined business which will be uniquely placed to address market challenges, allowing us to directly target the Acute, Specialist Care, Pharmacy, Children and Community Care and the Mental Health markets, thereby facilitating the UK’s strategy of integrated healthcare.”

David Ewing, Managing Partner at ECI Partners, said: “We completed the £33m P2P in 2009 with a clear view that the post-NPfIT (NHS National Programme for IT) the healthcare IT market would be focussed on interoperable best-of-breed software. As such, Ascribe’s strategy was to invest heavily in software development to take advantage of this forecast market change. This has enabled Ascribe to deliver strong growth in software sales and orders as the market story has unfolded”.

“Today’s sale represents another successful transaction for ECI, and marks our third exit in as many months which included the sale of CliniSys, the European market leading provider of software solutions to clinical laboratories. It further highlights our strong track record in creating and growing international market leading businesses in the TMT and healthcare sectors”.

Ascribe’s Chief Executive, Stephen Critchlow, said: “ECI have provided us with the support and guidance to help us grow our business in the UK and also to expand overseas. We look forward to working with EMIS to identify new markets and consolidate our position as a leading provider of healthcare IT”.


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