Oracle in talks to buy medical records company Cerner for $30 billion

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Oracle in talks to buy medical records company Cerner for $30 billion

According to people familiar with the matter, Corp. is in talks to buy electronic records company Corp., a deal that could be worth around $30 billion and push the enterprise-software giant further into healthcare.

Some people said that an agreement could be reached soon, assuming the talks don't fall apart or drag out. If a deal comes together, it would rank as the biggest for Oracle, which has a market value of more than $280 billion.

Cerner is based in software that hospitals and doctors use to store and analyze medical records and other healthcare data. It has a market value of around $23 billion. Oracle, a Silicon Valley veteran that moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas last year, is one of the biggest software providers to other companies and organizations.

In August, Cerner tapped David Feinberg a role he assumed in October. Mr. Feinberg came from Oracle rival Google, where he had led the Inc. unit's push into healthcare and with some of the country's largest hospital systems to collect and analyze their data.

Oracle already has a significant presence in healthcare, offering technology to help health insurers, healthcare providers and public health systems analyze data to improve efficiency and improve patient outcomes.

Oracle shares closed Thursday at $103.22, down a bit as a result of a broad-based tech selloff and just off an all-time high reached the day before. They jumped over 15% last week when the company reported second quarter results that topped estimates. Chief Executive Safra Catz reiterated the expectation that full-year revenue growth would accelerate from the year earlier in the year. In 2019, Ms. Catz, who became sole CEO in 2019, said she expects the company's operating margins to be the same or better than they were pre-pandemic.

The authorization for share repurchases was increased by $10 billion.

Buying Cerner could help Oracle pivot to the cloud. After initially being slow to embrace the booming market for storage and analyzing data on remote servers, investors have turned to Oracle as the company ramps up its focus on winning cloud-computing business. Oracle is trying to make up ground in recent years after falling behind companies like Inc. and Corp., both of which have market values well over $1 trillion thanks to thriving cloud units.

A deal for Cerner would follow Microsoft's agreement in April to buy artificial intelligence company Inc. for $16 billion, in a bet on Oracle's growth, which was founded in 1977 by outspoken billionaire Larry Ellison and others. Ellison owns around 42% of the company's shares, a stake that is worth well over $100 billion. In 2014, Ellison passed the CEO reins to Ms. Catz and the late Mark Hurd, but remains chairman and chief technology officer.

A deal for Cerner would easily surpass Oracle's next largest transaction, of enterprise software company PeopleSoft Inc., which closed in 2005, followed by cloud-software provider NetSuite Inc. in 2016.

In 2020, Oracle showed an appetite for bigger deals when it beat Microsoft in bidding for TikTok's US operations. The Trump administration's concern about TikTok's Chinese ownership had effectively put the business in play, but the deal was done by the Biden administration.

Cerner, founded in 1979, competes with private-equity firms like Epic Systems Corp. and Athenahealth Inc., which recently agreed to sell one group of private equity firms for around $17 billion, including debt.

One of the biggest mergers and acquisitions in the world is set to be one of the busiest ever of an Oracle-Cerner deal, which would rank as one of the largest takeovers of 2021. According to Dealogic, merger activity in the U.S. is up 78% to $2.45 trillion as lofty stock prices and easy money embolden companies to strike deals and special-purpose acquisition companies are formed at a breakneck pace.