The announcement this week that Schlumberger Limited will sell the majority of its SchlumbergerSema business to Atos Origin, will see two of the bidders for contracts under the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) come together in a further consolidation of the European IT services industry.

Paris-based IT services firm Atos Origin will acquire the majority of the SchlumbergerSema business, including the division currently short-listed in both the NHS procurement competitions for electronic appointment booking, and to become the local service provider (LSP) procurement for the south of England.

As exclusively revealed by E-Health Insider last week, SchlumbergerSema is understood to be in line to win the national NHS contract for e-booking services due to be announced shortly.

Atos KPMG Consulting, a wholly owned subsidiary of Atos Origin, is already separately short-listed with its partner IBM for two of the five LSP contracts: London, and the North West and West Midlands.

Commenting on the announced deal the NPfIT issued the statement: “The National Programme for IT in the NHS is aware that Atos Origin is proposing to acquire elements of SchlumbergerSema from Schlumberger and will take this proposal into account if this proves to be necessary.”

The deal marks the latest wave of consolidation among firms in the NPfIT procurement competitions. In July iSoft and Torex announced that they intended to merge to create the UK’s largest provider of healthcare information systems.

Schlumberger’s statements on the divestiture of the majority of the SchlumbergerSema business make clear that the move is based on continued consolidation in the IT services industry globally. Schlumberger intends to focus on IT services for the Oil and Gas industry.

The deal, valued at approximately $1.5 billion, consists of €400 million in cash and approximately 29% of the common shares outstanding of Atos Origin.

Commenting on this transaction, Andrew Gould, chairman and chief executive officer with Schlumberger, said: “The global IT services industry is going through an important phase of consolidation and the combination of the SchlumbergerSema IT businesses with Atos Origin will create a leading European IT Services company with broad presence and competence across the world.”

Atos Origin is an international information technology services provider. In August 2002, Atos Origin acquired KPMG Consulting in the UK and The Netherlands, trading as Atos KPMG Consulting. The company generates annual revenues of €3 billion and employs 28,000 staff in 30 countries.