Optum completes its acquisition of Advisory Board

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Optum's chief executive says the UnitedHealth subsidiary intends to preserve the "objectivity and credibility of Advisory Board's industry-leading research."

Optum has completed its purchase of the healthcare division of The Advisory Board Company, marrying the powerful healthcare services arm of a major payer with one of the healthcare industry’s leading consultancies.

The transaction was finalized Friday after the Advisory Board's shareholders voted to approve it. The deal, which is valued at $1.3 billion, was first announced in late August.

In a related transaction, the Advisory Board sold its education division, known as EAB, to the investment firm Vista Equity Partners for $1.55 billion. 

"For more than 30 years, Advisory Board's strategic insights have been an important part of the national healthcare conversation, and we are thrilled to welcome them to Optum," Larry Renfro, CEO of Optum, said in a statement.

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Indeed, the deal will give Optum access to the executives of the more than 4,000 hospital and health system clients that rely on the Advisory Board for strategic consulting. Given the fact that Optum is owned by UnitedHealth, though, one industry expert has wondered whether it will be able to maintain those client relationships given the historic payer-provider divide.

Another prominent analyst, though, said she expects UnitedHealth will continue “successfully managing” any confidentiality concerns across its managed care businesses and Optum, as FierceHealthcare reported.

For Renfro’s part, he took care to emphasize that the Advisory Board’s neutrality won’t change now that it is under Optum’s ever-growing umbrella.

"Together, we will be able to offer deeper and more comprehensive solutions to help all segments of the healthcare industry thrive in this evolving market, while preserving the objectivity and credibility of Advisory Board's industry-leading research," he said.