IDX acquired by GE Healthcare for $1.2 billion

Vermont Business Magazine IDX Systems Corp in South Burlington has agreed to be acquired by GE Healthcare, based in London, England, for $1.2 billion. The price reflects GEs offer to buy IDX stock for $44 per share. IDX has 2,400 employees, 850 of whom work in Vermont. IDX will become part of the GE Healthcare IT division. Officials said there are no immediate plans to change employment levels in Vermont.

GE Healthcare IT is based in Chicago and is a division of GE Healthcare, based in London, England. The agreement was reached September 28 and announced the next morning. The deal is expected to close early 2006.

IDX Chairman Richard Tarrant and CEO James Crook said that they had sought out an owner after realizing over the last few years that to grow the business further, they needed a partner. They said that they had sought out GE and started talking early in 2005 and made a formal management proposal last June. IDX is a $670 million company, while GE Healthcare IT is slightly bigger at $750 million. Its parent company, GE Healthcare, is a $15 billion business.

Tarrant and Crook both talked about the benefits to healthcare and to IDX in particular. They both mentioned that this deal was good for customers, employees and the communities where IDX facilities are located.

Pressed about the future of the Vermont facility, GE officials said they expect the facility to grow as the company grows, but would not discuss specific employment growth or retraction in Vermont. They did say that they would look at cost savings relative to redundant duties. Whether GE would retain the IDX brand name would depend on how the marketing might work out and customer expectations.

IDX and GE Medical have some competitive products, but officials on both sides described the merger as each company offering different strengths to the goal of making electronic health care records more available from anywhere in the world.

Crook said health care providers would have the benefit of a suite of software that would allow a hospital or medical office or doctor to see all the information at one time on a patient, from contact name and billing, to personal and family health history, to medications, to diagnostics, like X-Rays, to treatments.

IDX was formed in Burlington in 1969 by Richard Tarrant and Robert Hoehl.