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Cognizant Acquires TriZetto to Add ISV Business to its Healthcare Business

Cognizant is to acquire TriZetto, a healthcare ISV in the U.S., for $2.7bn in cash.

TriZetto has a headcount of 3.7k (Cognizant at end of H1 2014: 187k.4). In its last 12 months, TriZetto had $711m in revenues and a non-GAAP operating margin of 18.4% (Cognizant in 2013: 20.6%).

TriZetto LTM revenues breakdown by service/product line is:

  • Payer software: 40% (~$277m)
  • Consulting: 23% (~$164m)
  • Hosting: 13% (~$92m)
  • BPO: 5% (~$36m). BPO services are provided on the Payer side
  • Provider SaaS: 20% (~$142m).

Cognizant has higlighted the acquistion of TriZetto as an important step in the company's history:

  • Towards a non-linear growth business. TriZetto is obiously an ISV business and has higher revenue per head (~$190k) than Cognizant (~$50k). Howevever, Cognizant is not buying a provider of plartforms: TriZetto is essentially a traditional ISV selling on premise perpetual licenses, where applications are implemented and customized by the client
    - SaaS revenues represent 20% of revenues, BPO services 5% only
  • As a revenue generator with planned $1.5bn in additional revenues over 5 years. TriZetto has been a flat growth vendor overall in spite of M&As. In addition, the additional $1.5bn in additional revenues does not mean that Cognizant will triple revenues of TriZetto. Taking an assumption of revenue synergies happening towards the endof this 5-year period, TriZetto could reach sales of ~$1.3bn, up from $700m currenly. This is nice but hardly exponential for the company of the quality of Cognizant
  • TriZetto with its software product business has high margins. Yet, TriZetto has lower operating margins than Cognizant. In addition, TriZetto under the ownershipby Apax Partners, offers little cost synergies. This means that under Cognizant, which will be focusing on revenue growth and investment in sales and products, the operating margin of TriZetto is likely to go down.

This lack of growth raises the question of price. Cognizant has not provided detailed information regarding its net profitability. Yet $2.7bn in cash for a company with flat revenues at best, a net profit likely to be  in the $70m-$100m range and no cost synergies expected seems a bit expensive. However the market seems comfortable with the price Cognizant paid for TriZetto: Cognizant's share price was relatively flat after the annoucement.

This acquistion will put on hold any other significant M&A for Cognizant for while as the company will be focusing on small tuck-in acquistions to strengthen specific capabilities and focus on share buy-backs.

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