Antitrust review of Oracle-Cerner deal extended until February 22

Written by John Hewitt Jones

The length of time the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have to review Oracle’s acquisition of the lead company behind the Department of Veterans Affairs‘ electronic health records (EHR) modernization program has been extended.

Antitrust authorities now have until February 22 to review the $28.3 billion deal after Oracle resubmitted a pre-merger report to extend the review period, according to documents filed by the company. company. The DOJ may shorten the period or issue a second request that would extend the period for an additional 10 days.

The FTC and DOJ have the power to block or order remedies for mergers found to be anticompetitive, and under the Hart-Scott-Rodino law, all transactions above a certain threshold must be declared to the branches. The threshold was recently increased to $101 million.

The two companies announced the all-cash deal on Dec. 20, under which Cerner would become an industry-dedicated business unit within Oracle.

The acquisition comes as the Department of Veterans Affairs‘ EHR modernization program has come under scrutiny following major cost overruns and security issues.

In January, shortly after the deal was announced, two alleged Cerner shareholders filed separate lawsuits against the company and its board members. Each complaint asserts claims under Section 14 of the Exchange Act, which prohibits material misrepresentations and omissions in proxy statements sent to shareholders.

Earlier this month, a high-profile report from the Government Accountability Office revealed that the VA had failed to ensure the data transferred when rolling out its new EHR met the needs of clinicians. He found that the ministry had not sufficiently monitored the accessibility, accuracy and timeliness of clinical information as it was transferred in segments from one system to another.

Concerns were raised over a staging environment used when data was transferred from the VA’s national data center in Austin, Texas to a data center operated by Cerner.

Cerner’s Millennium Platform and its HealtheIntent cloud platform form the backbone of VA’s health records modernization strategy, which relies on moving patient data from legacy information systems architecture and Veterans Health Technology (VistA) from VA.

If the deal goes through, it will be the biggest ever for Oracle, which has a market value of more than $280 billion.

Oracle and Cerner did not respond to a request for comment.

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