Sage sells off US healthcare arm


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The Independent Online

Sage Group has agreed to sell its North American healthcare business in a deal worth $320m (£209m), and will return the proceeds to investors with a share buyback programme. The deal will see it make a loss of up to £70m on the acquisition.

The Newcastle-based software group sold Sage Software Healthcare to San Francisco buyout group Vista Equity Partners, after a competitive auction process in a move dubbed by the chief executive as "very significant in Sage's development".

Guy Berruyer, who heads up Sage, said it was "a good price" for a division that was not performing so well. "We can now concentrate on good growth opportunities in North America".

Mr Berruyer said: "The poor performance compared badly to the rest of the group. Because of external factors it moved further away from our core business."

Sage bought the operation, which had been known as Emdeon Practice Services, in 2006 in a deal worth £297m. The business posted sales of £72m in the six months to March this year

Mr Berruyer said that despite the proceeds being returned to shareholders it would not prevent the company fromtargeting acquisitions.