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IBM to acquire health care data and analytics firm for $2.6 billion

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International Business Machines Corp said on Thursday it plans to acquire Truven Health Analytics, a provider of health care data and analytics, for $2.6 billion, marking its fourth major health data-related deal in the past year.

IBM said Truven will bring more than 8,500 clients, including U.S. federal and state government agencies, employers, health plans, hospitals and others, to its IBM Watson Health portfolio.

IBM, which launched its Watson Health unit in April 2015, said that at the expected close of the Truven acquisition later this year, its cloud-based system will house health-related data representing around 300 million patient lives. The Truven data will be integrated with Watson's data, used to identify health cost savings, improve health care outcomes, fight fraud and make operations more efficient.

With the latest deal, IBM said it will have invested more than $4 billion to acquire and build its health care capabilities.

Truven was previously acquired by Veritas Capital Management Fund L.L.C. from Thomson Reuters Corp. for $1.25 billion in 2012.