The Sage Group will acquire Tampa, Fla.-based Emdeon Practice Services Inc., which sells practice management software and patient data systems to doctors' offices.

Sage will pay about $567 million in cash to EPS's parent company, Emdeon Corp., and plans to close the deal in September. For the 2005 fiscal year, EPS had revenues of approximately $300 million and about 20,000 mostly small and midsized customers.

EPS software is used in administrative and financial processes -- such as the scheduling of appointments, the handling of prescriptions and billing -- and has capabilities for the creation and management of electronic health records.

In a release, Sage said that it expects the medical software arena to be growth industry as more doctors look to automate their practices and there is a higher adoption of electronic health records. The company also expects to be able to take advantage of cross-selling software between existing Sage and EPS customers.

"This market is showing clear demand for automation of business processes," said Sage chief executive Paul Walker, in a statement. "This acquisition continues our strategy of providing industry-specific solutions, by bringing dedicated Sage solutions to this business sector for the first time."

Sage has bought more than a dozen companies since 2003 to tap customers for its accounting, payroll and human resources software. Just last week, the company announced it will buy a controlling interest in Elit Group, a French provider of business management software for the transport and food distribution industries. In February, Sage bought Nashville, Tenn.-based Verus Financial Management Inc., a credit card and check payment-processing firm.

Previously on WebCPA:

Sage Buys Controlling Interest in French Group (Aug. 2, 2006)

Yankee Group: Accounting Software Ruled by Triumvirate (May 16, 2006)Sage Acquires Payments Processor Verus (Jan. 11, 2006)

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