GHX Acquires Vendormate – Healthcare Industry Solution Provider Adds Capabilities

Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) has entered a deal to acquire Atlanta-based Vendormate for an undisclosed sum. GHX provides business network connectivity for the vast majority (4,000 hospitals and 18,000 provider facilities) or more than 80% of US hospitals and their suppliers in the US marketplace according to GHX – as well as a P2P platform. Vendormate, in turn, has a vendor relationship management solution that will add vendor-credentialing capabilities to the GHX supply chain portfolio. The acquisition is expected to close within the next 30 days.

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GHX was acquired early in 2014 by PE firm Thoma Bravo – which presumably provided the financial backing or similar assurances to Vendormate. Through this deal, GHX will add about 100 employees for a total of approximately 600. Combined revenue is not disclosed, but with both firms having recurring revenue streams from software subscriptions and similar fees – not services – presumably the combined entity falls in the $100 million to $150 million range.

According to GHX’s CEO, the business drivers behind the deal are complementary and strategic:

  • Provide added value to customers
  • Cross-sell/up-sell
  • Expand network (Vendormate has its own supplier network)
  • Both firms operate in the same vertical and understand the challenges and regulations facing buyers and suppliers – HIPAA, workplace safety (appropriate vaccinations), etc.

The business value to GHX looks solid – its clients operate in a highly regulated environment where onsite workforce as well as regular supplier compliance is critical. For example, in addition to the general onboarding requirements that all firms have (TIN, Insurance, CoC, etc.), and the healthcare industry has, reimbursements cannot be made to firms on the so called fraud and abuse list. Instead, Joint Commission accreditations are required, and the workforce has to have appropriate vaccinations, etc. Areas that Vendormate can address – and largely in a many-to-many format (even if many healthcare providers still cling to proprietary onboarding standards) once a common denominator has surfaced.

As is, GHX says it helps “healthcare providers better manage the process of who they do business with, including vendor on-boarding, business associate management, representative credentialing solutions, vendor identification for sourcing events and managing legal contracts within the healthcare system.

GHX expects the acquisition of Vendormate to “add vendor relationship management capabilities to the GHX procure-to-pay solutions portfolio, help healthcare providers better manage the process of who they do business with, including vendor onboarding, business associate management, representative credentialing solutions, vendor identification for sourcing events and managing legal contracts within the healthcare system.”

Both companies are committed to solutions for providers and suppliers in healthcare and the combined. Integrated product offering gives GHX the ability to not only deliver greater supply chain visibility into the vendors that providers are doing business with, but also helps reduce the costs associated with vendor management.

The healthcare sector is faced with rising regulations, so this appears to be an overdue step in order to create efficiencies. If not for the record-keeping simplifications, there should be a safety in numbers angle for the healthcare industry as a whole by adopting a common baseline for onboarding. Regulators and lawyers tend to first strike those who stray from the herd.

This reminds us in many ways of the business case behind offerings like those from Browz, and Kroll – a many-to-many content delivery, with presumably a decent revenue stream from suppliers (e.g. $500 per year times tens of thousands of suppliers equals good revenue). Then there is a warding off angle by making it harder for similar firms to enter.

It is too early to comment on integration, but vendor relationship management is typically a relatively easy area to integrate, and both firms are relatively large and presumably mature enough to have APIs and/or other well-documented routines.

“Following the close of the acquisition, GHX will operate Vendormate as a wholly owned subsidiary and identify opportunities to improve automation, efficiency and accuracy of the complementary solutions through analytics and integrated data flow.”

In other words, we’ll have to wait and see.

Takeaways

Without insight into the financials, we can’t say if this was a good deal for GHX. However, it appears to be a smart move in the right direction, helps walling out other firms while actually delivering added value to clients – most of the validation steps in any onboarding process are nearly identical and an intermediary like GHX/Vendormate can reduce handling costs considerably.

The healthcare space is a fairly unique vertical, so clients and suppliers alike should benefit from the synergies – especially considering that GHX already has such a large client base.

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