What happened when GE tried to buy Epic and Cerner and was shut down within 5 minutes

Former GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt has just revealed the decades-old rebuff to buy the EHR giants.
By Bernie Monegain
01:08 PM
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Epic chief Judy Faulkner

Recently resigned chief executive Jeffrey Immelt on Thursday said GE in the past tried to acquire Epic and Cerner at different times. 

Immelt, who retired as director and chairman of the General Electric’s board of directors in October 2017, recounted at  the Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit in Boston his discussions with Faulkner included a suggestion that GE and Epic might work together or perhaps GE could acquire parts of Epic’s business.

[Also: Epic reveals R&D spending outstrips Apple, Google and its competitors]

Faulkner, who is known for her devotion to the business she launched in 1979 – didn’t have to think twice. “She just said, ‘No, no interest,’” Immelt said. “It was a five-minute meeting – perhaps the shortest in history.” The report first appeared on the Xconomy website.

Faulkner likes to point out that Epic software is developed in-house. There have been no acquisitions of other companies. She claims that 50 percent of the privately-held company’s operating expenses are invested in research and development, and 190 million patients have a current electronic record in Epic.

Immelt also said he considered a deal to acquire EHR giant Cerner. He dropped that effort, though, because the 2 billion price tag under discussion was too expensive. 

Immelt did not reveal when he had been in talks with Cerner but Cerner’s market valuation today is $23.38 billion.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com