Telstra buys 50% stake in Melbourne IT company

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Telstra buys 50% stake in Melbourne IT company

Telstra has acquired 50 percent of Fred IT as the company looks to strengthen its presence in the health IT market.

It is the third Telstra purchase in the IT sector in the past two months, following the acquisition of software developer DCA eHealth Solutions and unified communications provider NSC Group.

The purchase will help the company grow its share of the $120 billion a year healthcare market; Telstra claimed that Fred IT was the leading provider of IT solutions and software to pharmacies.

Telstra's 50 percent stake in Fred IT was estimated to be worth $25 million, according to sources quoted in the Australian Financial Review.

Telstra head of health Shane Solomon said: "Community pharmacies play a vital role in providing services and advice to millions of Australians and Fred IT Group is at the leading edge of companies offering e-health solutions to the community, GPs and pharmacists.

"We are excited by the opportunities this investment presents and we will work with the Fred IT Group to build on the great foundations they have established."

Fred IT's chief executive, Paul Naismith, said Telstra's involvement would help Fred IT "invest strongly in e-health and cloud computing, which are vital in improving patient health and safety, creating new ways for pharmacy to service its customers and run business".

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, which has played key roles in developing national eScripts and PBS Online, retains a "significant investment" in Fred IT. The guild has signed a separate Memorandum of Understanding with Telstra to identify new opportunities of benefit to community pharmacies.

Fred IT has 170 employees in offices located in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Ballarat.

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