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The Associated Press March 16, 2010, 5:57PM ET

Emdeon health care payment co to buy consultancy

Emdeon Inc., a health care payment technology provider, announced Tuesday that it plans to buy the consulting firm Healthcare Technology Management Services for $11 million.

Emdeon, based in Nashville, also reported Tuesday that its fourth-quarter profit rose but was dragged down by higher income taxes and employee stock compensation expenses.

It said the acquistion will help it expand. The consulting firm's focus is on helping clients use technology to reach their business goals.

"By moving directly into the professional services arena, Emdeon will be able to further expand its position as a strategic partner to our customers and, importantly, support the growth of our existing business," Emdeon CEO George Lazenby said in a statement.

Emdeon said it will pay $8.5 million in cash and $2.5 million in restricted common stock up front. Over the next three years, it could pay as much as $14 million more based on the acquired company's performance.

Emdeon stock fell 15 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $16.49 in extended trading, after the results and the acquisition were announced. The shares had climbed 56 cents, or 3.5 percent, to close at $16.64 during the regular trading session.

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