NextGen Healthcare (Horsham) parent Quality Systems settles with activist investor; Could sale be in the future?

Tom Paine

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Quality Systems, Inc., the Irvine, California-based corporation whose primary business unit is Horsham-based NextGen Healthcare, may be looking for a buyer, according to some reports.

Speculation was heightened by an agreement announced on Wednesday between Quality and activist investor Clinton Group, in which Quality is expected to add three of the investor's nominees to its board, two of whom will also serve on a transaction committee which will evaluate Quality Systems' strategy and direction.

Quality Systems, which provides electronic health record (EHR) systems and related services, was riding the wave of "meaningful use" funding authorized by the Federal stimulus program to incentivize medical practices to adopt electronic record keeping. The stock hit $48.50 in September 2011, but closed at $22.01 (NASDAQ: QSII ) on Friday as growth has lagged behind several other EHR providers, giving it a current market value of $1.3 billion.

Qaulity reported revenue of $460.2 million for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, an increase of 7% over the prior year. Net income was $42.7 million, a decrease of 44% from the prior year. Revenue generated by NextGen's operating units account for well over 90% of Quality's total revenue.

An analyst quoted in an Med City News article names Siemens, whose Malvern-based Healthcare IT unit already partners with NextGen in certain areas, as one possible buyer should it be sold.

Patrick B.Cline co-founded Clinitec, based in Horsham, in 1994; it was acquired by Quality Systems two years later and became the foundation of NextGen Healthcare. Cline retired from NextGen and Quality at the end of 2011, and is currently CEO of Irving, Texas-based Lightbeam Health Solutions.

Weekend speculation – SAP, IBM and Accenture in 2015. (Dennis Howlett/Diginomica)