Dr Foster Intelligence, the provider of information, analysis and communications to health and social care organisations, is to be sold.

The announcement came today from joint owners, the Department of Health and Dr Foster Holdings LLP. The DH and Dr Foster will sell all their shares in Dr Foster Intelligence, making it completely independent of the government.

Currently, the DH owns a 48.75% stake in Dr Foster Intelligence, with 51.25% held by Dr Foster Holdings LLP.

The DH statement said that selling all the shares together, rather than individually, will make the business more attractive to potential buyers and provide the current shareholders with the best value for their investment.

The decision to sell follows a review of strategic options for the business, announced in August 2010 and carried out by KPMG.

Health minister Simon Burns said: “Organisations should be free to innovate and present data, and the government should ensure that it is maximising the value of its assets.

“As our reforms set out, more comprehensive and transparent information, including patients’ own ratings, is vital for true choice – without it, patients and service users cannot make informed choices and take control of their care.”

Dr Foster Intelligence chief executive, Tom Moloney, said: "All parties believe that an independent Dr Foster Intelligence will be best placed to help its customers and stakeholders implement the information revolution called for in health services."

Dr Foster Intelligence was established in 2006 as a joint venture between the NHS Information Centre and Dr Foster Holdings LLP. The NHS Information Centre transferred its shareholding to the Department of Health on 9 July 2010.

The Government’s Spending Review framework in June urged departments to focus on essential activities, maximise value from assets that do not need be held in the public sector, and ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

The NHS white paper, ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ also committed to increasing the availability of robust and independent healthcare information for patients to help drive better care, improved outcomes and reduced costs.

For the year ending 31 December 2009, Dr Foster Intelligence generated revenues of £22.1m.

On 1 April 2010, Dr Foster Intelligence’s holding company acquired Dr Foster Research Limited (DFR) in a share-for-share exchange. For the year ending 31 December 2009, DFR generated revenues of £1.9m.