Computer Sciences Corporation confirmed on Wednesday that it was considering a bid for troubled healthcare software company Isoft, its partner in the £12.4bn National Health Service IT programme (NPfIT).
Any bid by California-based CSC for the UK group would rival an all-share offer from IBA Health, of Australia, which valued Isoft at about £140m.
CSC, which is responsible for delivering Isoft’s software as part of the much delayed NPfIT, the world’s largest civilian technology project, said it was considering an all-cash offer.
“Computer Sciences Corporation continues to review its options in light of this objective, including its contractual rights and obligations, and does not exclude the possibility of making an offer for Isoft,” CSC said in a statement.
“Should such an offer be made, any consideration is likely to be solely in the form of cash and will not include any CSC publicly listed securities.”
Isoft recommended the IBA takeover, but CSC declined to back the deal. CSC has the power to block any change of control at Isoft under a clause common in big government contracts.
On Friday, Isoft said it would start legal proceedings against the US company over the withholding of its consent to the deal, but early on Wednesday confirmed that the threat of a court battle had been lifted for the time being after talks with CSC.
“Isoft confirms that it is now engaged in discussions with CSC in relation to the commercial arrangements under which CSC would take a greater role in the management of Isoft’s work on the NPfIT,” it said in a statement. “Isoft also continues to seek CSC’s consent to the change in control of Isoft that would result from the IBA offer for Isoft.
“While these discussions are in progress, Isoft and CSC have agreed temporarily not to take further steps in court in relation to proceedings commenced on June 4 in relation to CSC withholding its consent.”
Shares in Isoft were down 0.5 per cent at 47¾p in late morning trade.