IMS to go public, says acquisitions possible

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IMS to go public, says aquisitions possible
IMS to go public, says aquisitions possible

Following an acquisition spree that has included spending $587 million for 22 assets since 2011, IMS Health announced Jan. 2 that it is pursuing an IPO.

Underwriters JP Morgan Securities, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are hammering out how many shares will be for sale and in what price range, but the SEC filing gives a rundown of what's on offer: a resource that houses information surrounding about 85% of the world's prescriptions by sales revenue and data from 400 million patient records which have been stripped of identifying information.

The company says in its IPO prospectus that its staff, which is comprised of 9,300 employees with expertise that spans fields such as biostatistics, data science and healthcare economics, “process data from over 45 billion healthcare transactions annually,” and pull data from 780,000 global feeds.

This breadth has been the result of crunching data—and competitors. Acquisitions include HGS Europe, Appature, Vedere Group Limited, Diversinet, Nielsen Holdings' consumer health business and the Swedish firm Pygarsus. This is in addition to buying up and selling off portions of SDI Health in 2011 and 2012.

A rival, Symphony Health—created with the 2012 merger of AlphaDetail, ImpactRx, TargetRx and Source—filed an antitrust complaint in July 2013, charging IMS with spawning a monopoly. Among its complaints: that IMS data contracts barred information sources, like prescription benefits managers from sharing information with anyone else—posted on Courthouse News Service, the complaint alleges that these arrangements “prevented Symphony from accessing over 80 percent of data generated by long-term care facilities and a substantial percentage of specialty drug data in the United States.”

At the time, IMS Health said, “We reject the claims raised in the complaint and will vigorously defend our position,” adding that it “knows that pharmaceutical companies and other customers have a broad range of choices.”

Information is the company's major earner, pulling in $2.4 billion in 2012 revenue, trailed by technology services like cloud-based applications and consulting, which provided $1.2 billion that same year.

IMS said in its prospectus that more acquisitions are possible “across the life sciences, payer and provider sectors.”

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