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Cerner, a company that scooped more than £100m in NHS deals in a year, is in Oracle's crosshairs

Big Red targets health records specialist Cerner in $30bn takeover bid

Updated Oracle has reportedly set its sights on the $30bn acquisition of US electronic health records specialist Cerner as it tries to further penetrate the medical sector.

A potential deal would have ramifications in the UK as Cerner has won more than £100m in NHS contracts in the last year alone and was a key player in the National Programme for IT, which went down as one of the greatest IT disasters in public sector history.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, an agreement between the two firms could soon be finalised giving Oracle — worth around $280bn — control over the Kansas City health software specialist which has a market value of around $23bn. Estimates suggest the deal would be expected to value the company near $30bn, according to the newspaper.

Oracle has been contacted for comment.

Oracle already offers technology for health insurance and health analytics. It provides ERP systems many NHS organisations rely on, including one NHS England uses to manage £110bn in spending. But it has so far lacked a specific health records system.

During the early stages of the pandemic, Larry Ellison, Oracle's founder and CTO, offered its engineers to the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies to create a database for the country's coronavirus cases, according to reports.

A deal for Cerner could be the largest in Oracle's long history of acquisitions. In 2005, it paid $10bn for HR software specialist PeopleSoft and in 2016 it bought SaaS application firm NetSuite for $9bn.

Cerner is one of the biggest providers of electronic health record software in the US, but it also has a long history in the UK's NHS.

It has won more than £100m in work from the nation's public health service in the last year, and has a place on the £5bn Clinical Digital Solutions framework awarded in April.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals selected Cerner for its £25m electronic patient record system.

According to Cerner's website, its Millennium platform is used by more than 144,000 health and care professionals across 24 NHS trusts every month.

Millennium was selected to be part of the NHS's National Programme for IT before it was stopped early in 2011. It was the selected software for the London and Southern regions with some systems going live.

According to a 2013 report from the National Audit Office, the programme "did not deliver key benefits, despite the Department spending an estimated £9.8bn." ®

Updated to add at 1539 UTC on 20 December

Oracle Corporation and Cerner Corporation today said Big Red would acquire Cerner through an all-cash tender offer for $95.00 per share, or approximately $28.3bn in equity value

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