NU Online News Service, Jan. 2, 2004, 2:01 p.m. EST – MultiPlan Inc., New York, a company that manages networks of doctors, clinics and hospitals, has agreed to acquire the U.S. health operations of BCE Emergis Inc., Montreal, for $213 million.[@@]

The BCE unit in the United States, U.S. Health, also manages health provider networks. U.S. Health and MultiPlan rent the networks to health insurers, managed care companies and self-funded employee health plans.

Completing the U.S. Health acquisition would make Multiplan the biggest independent network manager in the United States, MultiPlan says. The combined network would be able to market the services of 4,400 hospitals and 400,000 doctors.

The deal is subject to approval by regulators and BCE shareholders.

General Atlantic Partners L.L.C., Greenwich, Conn., has agreed to help finance the deal by buying a minority stake in MultiPlan, MultiPlan says. The size of the stake was not immediately available.