Wolters Kluwer, betting on apps, plans sale of pharma-related unit

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Wolters Kluwer Health & Pharma Solutions said it will divest its Pharma Solutions business unit as part of a strategic decision to focus on point-of-care tools and professional content, offerings it says are poised to grow faster.

Expected to close around or shortly after the end of the year, the sale will likely involve separate deals for the healthcare analytics and marketing & publishing services businesses, for which the company retained William Blair & Co. and Lazard Middle Market as advisors, respectively.

The Pharma Solutions business, while an important part of the company, “no longer fits with the growth strategy,” which is to focus spending and investment in core healthcare provider markets, Robert Dekker, VP of communications for Wolters Kluwer Health & Pharma Solutions, told MM&M in an e-mail.

The pharma-related unit's CEO retired in April.

Brands now on the block include the PHAST syndicated prescription data service; Source, pharmaceutical online dashboard; the Adis line of journals aimed at those working in drug therapy and pharmacology; as well as the Adis R&D Insight and inThought pipeline analysis tools.

Brands staying include the Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Ovid textbooks, journals and databases; Pharmacy OneSource software; and the Lexicomp and UpToDate Web and mobile medical reference apps.

The professional content and clinical decision support tools form “one of the fastest growing areas of Health,” said Nancy McKinstry, CEO and chairman of Wolters Kluwer's executive board, in a statement. Focusing on these areas can “deliver enhanced value to our stakeholders.”

These areas are “well-positioned to benefit from healthcare reform trends globally,” added Bob Becker, president & CEO of Wolters Kluwer Health & Pharma Solutions, in the statement.

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