Towers Watson buys Tampa health care software firm Acclaris for $140 million


Acclaris, a 600-employee Tampa company started here 14 years ago that provides software services for health care and reimbursement accounts, will be acquired for $140 million by Towers Watson, a 15,000-employee consulting and professional management company based in Arlington, Va.
"This is a strategic move for Acclaris," company CEO Dean Mason said in a letter issued Monday. "It is one we make from a position of strength, having just completed our most successful year ever. Towers Watson is an industry leader in benefits administration. Becoming part of Towers Watson opens up extensive resources and new opportunities to expand our client base," he said.
News of Monday's deal was released after the markets closed. Towers Watson, which is publicly traded, has a market value topping $9 billion — larger than any public company based in the Tampa Bay area. That size is important because it sends a signal that larger companies are recognizing up-and-coming bay area companies that are worth acquiring — a key message for the business startup community here.
"Going forward, Towers Watson and Acclaris will enable clients of any size to offer benefits in new and cost-effective ways," said Jim Foreman, managing director for Towers Watson's Exchange Solutions segment, where Acclaris will operate. He praised the Tampa firm for its operational efficiency, its flexible technology and service delivery.
Acclaris, at 1511 N West Shore Blvd., also has locations in Kansas and India. Since 2001, it has worked with a number of employers, health plans, banks and third-party administrators as the technology and services manager for their account-based benefit offerings. Acclaris, with expected 2015 revenues of $35 million, administers 1.4 million health care accounts, working with 6,000 employers, including more than 40 Fortune 500 companies.