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Private equity firm Thoma Bravo to buy GHX trading exchange


By Jaimy Lee
Posted: February 5, 2014 - 2:00 pm ET
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Global Healthcare Exchange, a Web-based trading exchange that seeks to reduce costs for medical and surgical product suppliers and hospitals, has agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Louisville, Colo.-based company, often referred to as GHX, is owned by 20 organizations, including group purchasing organizations, distributors, suppliers and hospitals. No owner has more than a 15% state in the company.

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GHX was formed in 2000 by five large medical suppliers including Johnson & Johnson and Baxter International and now operates in the U.S., Canada and Europe. It contracts with hospitals, distributors, GPOs and suppliers for the services and tools it offers and will continue to contract with previous owners.

“GHX is ahead of the innovation curve with its efficiency solutions, and the growth opportunities for the company are significant as healthcare organizations look to streamline and automate their operations,” Orlando Bravo, a managing partner at San Francisco-based Thoma Bravo, said in a statement.

Interest in reducing the costs of medical and surgical supplies is an increasing concern for hospitals. Supply costs usually make up a hospital's second-largest expense. Manufacturers are also seeking to reduce supply costs, in part by cutting waste and inefficiencies in the broader supply chain.

“This really is a continuation of business with all the previous owners,” said Bruce Johnson, GHX's president and CEO. “We will continue to drive value and savings.”

The Premier healthcare alliance, which operates one of the nation's largest GPOs, owns about 13% of GHX, according to securities filings. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company will receive about $38 million when the deal closes, which is expected to occur in the next 30 to 45 days.

Premier and GHX in June had announced a partnership that provides Premier hospital members with access to GHX's price activation portal, which allows hospitals, distributors, GPOs and suppliers to develop contracts on a real-time basis. GHX has said that the portal helps buyers and sellers of medical and surgical supplies reduce contract pricing errors, which can occur during the 45 to 60 days it takes to load new contract prices into companies' systems.

GHX markets products and services that seek to help automate the supply chain, make hospitals more aware of how much they're spending on supplies, and enable global data standards. In 2012 the company acquired an implantable medical-device tracking technology from Implanet, a French device manufacturer.

Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee


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