Healthy M&A activity in medical speech recognition and transcription

Contact: Ben Kolada

There’s seemingly been a burst in deal volume in the niche medical-focused speech recognition and transcription market lately. On Thursday, iMedX announced the acquisition of Electronic Medical Transcription Services (eMTS), capping off a growing line of acquisitions in this sector. Driving deal flow, among other things, is healthcare professionals’ increasing use of transcription and voice recognition systems and various legislation being passed that provides incentives for digital clinical documentation.

One such bill is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, also known as the HITECH Act, which became law in 2009. HITECH provides incentives for healthcare providers to use electronic health records, which store clinical data in a digital format.

Although the eMTS buy is likely quite small in the grand scheme of things, there is big M&A money being poured into medical speech recognition and transcription deals.

Earlier this month, One Equity Partners bet its money on this market when it announced that it was taking M*Modal private for $840m, or $1.1bn when including $260m of net debt. That transaction was announced almost exactly a year after M*Modal was acquired by rival MedQuist, which assumed the target’s name.

We’ve previously written that Nuance Communications, with its Nuance Healthcare unit, has been a major consolidator in this sector. In March, Nuance announced that it was paying $313m for medical-focused rival Transcend Services – its largest purchase since its last significant medical acquisition in April 2008, when it paid $363m for eScription. Nuance’s Healthcare division generated $583m in trailing sales as of March 31.

Recent select M&A in medical transcription and speech recognition

Date announced Acquirer Target Deal value
July 2, 2012 One Equity Partners M*Modal $840m
March 7, 2012 Nuance Communications Transcend Services $313.5m
August 15, 2011 Nuance Communications Loquendo $75m
July 14, 2011 Nuance Communications Webmedx Not disclosed
July 11, 2011 MedQuist M*Modal $130m

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase

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