Report: IBM again considering sale of Watson Health

By staff writers

January 11, 2022 -- Nearly a year after rumors first swirled that IBM was mulling over a potential sale of its Watson Health artificial intelligence (AI) business, the company has reportedly restarted the process, according to a report published January 5 by Axios.

Axios reported that IBM engaged BofA Securities in late 2021 to find a buyer for Watson Health. Bids were due last week for the unprofitable unit, and the winner -- among the one "strategic buyer" and several private equity firms who are in the hunt -- is expected to be announced by the end of January, according to the article.

Formed in 2015 in an effort to apply AI technology to enable personalized healthcare, Watson Health was IBM's first dedicated industry-specific business unit. It housed several big IBM healthcare acquisitions, including PACS and imaging software developer Merge Healthcare, population health company Phytel, and cloud-based healthcare intelligence vendor Explorys.

The company reportedly also considered selling Watson Health in early 2021 as part of an initiative aimed at streamlining its operations and focusing on cloud computing.

An IBM Watson Health spokesperson declined to comment to on the rumored potential sale of Watson Health.

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