Updated: iSoft shareholders overwhelmingly support sale to IBA

Shareholders of NHS supplier iSoft have voted overwhelmingly to sell the company to Australian firm IBA today, after a long and tangled takeover saga.

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Shareholders of NHS supplier iSoft have voted overwhelmingly to sell the company to Australian firm IBA today, after a long and tangled takeover saga.

Subject to legal procedures, the deal is expected to go ahead on 30 October.

Troubled software supplier iSoft contracted to provide its Lorenzo care records system – a crucial element of the £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT) – in three out of five regions where CSC is the lead NPfIT contractor.

But as iSoft spiralled into chaos, concern has grown in the NHS over the delivery of Lorenzo – which is already running more than two years late.

Last year iSoft began seeking a buyer after reporting a string of losses and being hit by a Financial Services Authority investigation into accounting irregularities.

In August, as a bidding war broke out between IBA and German rival CompuGroup, ministers confirmed that an NHS team had at one stage been put on standby to take charge of iSoft.

The bidding war saw the iSoft board first accept IBA’s £140m bid then abandon it in a shock move after CompuGroup stepped in with a £160m offer.

The software firm then announced plans for an auction between the rivals but dropped the idea when IBA upped its initial offer to £166m, prompting CompuGroup to pull out of the race.

The revised IBA offer agreed by iSoft’s shareholders today will see the iSoft and CSC teams working on Lorenzo for the NHS integrated under CSC’s leadership.

The arrangements between iSoft and CSC were hammered out after CSC blocked IBA’s initial takeover bid, arguing that it would not support delivery of Lorenzo.

The IT services firm had a veto over the sale of iSoft under the terms of an agreement between the two companies made when iSoft hit trouble last year.

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