HMS buys Accent for $155M to expand offerings for health plans

HMS Holdings—an IT vendor in the benefits, payments and population health space—is broadening its scope by acquiring Accent from Intrado in a $155 million cash deal.

HMS Holdings —an IT vendor in the benefits, payments and population health space—is broadening its scope by acquiring Accent from Intrado in a $155 million cash purchase.

The deal, announced on Thursday, is intended to expand the HMS business line for commercial and Medicare Advantage plans—Accent’s forte—to build on HMS’ prospective and retrospective claims accuracy services.

Irving, Texas-based HMS will buy Accent for $155 million, plus net working capital, on a cash-free and debt-free basis, planning to fund it from cash on hand. The closing of the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of HMS’ fiscal year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including expiration or termination of any applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.

Accent’s offerings include comprehensive prospective and retrospective claims accuracy solutions, which incorporate both cost avoidance and overpayment recovery services. Executives of both companies say Accent’s capabilities and client base are highly complementary to HMS.

Accent’s healthcare payer clients include large commercial health plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, provider-sponsored health plans, Medicare Advantage plans, third-party administrators and self-insured employer groups. Accent generated about $50 million in net revenue in the last 12 months, based on unaudited, internal segment performance disclosures.

“HMS and Accent are an outstanding strategic fit, and this combination offers numerous benefits for our clients and stakeholders,” said Bill Lucia, HMS chairman and CEO. “Our collective strengths will provide expanded payment accuracy capabilities across the healthcare payer landscape, and advance cost containment opportunities in the industry.

“The addition of Accent’s capabilities will open up a new coordination of benefits market for HMS with commercial payers, and extends our push into the Medicare COB market,” Lucia added. “Accent’s ideation expertise will also expand our range of edit and audit solutions, and enhance our skills across all of our COB and Payment Integrity solutions.”

At least one analyst looks positively on the transaction.

"We have a favorable view of this transaction, which expands HMS's core payment integrity and coordination of benefits businesses by accelerating growth in the commercial and Medicare markets, which HMS has made efforts to expand into, and enhancing the range of edit and audit solutions that HMS can utilize across its current book of business," says Richard Close, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity.