IBM, Armonk, NY, recently announced plans to acquire Merge Healthcare Inc, Chicago.

According to the company, Watson, the first commercially available cognitive computing capability, will gain the ability to “see” by bringing together its advanced image analytics and cognitive capabilities with data and images obtained from Merge’s medical imaging management platform. With the acquisition, IBM aims to unlock the value of medical images to help physicians make better patient care decisions.”

Merge’s technology platforms are used at more than 7,500 U.S. healthcare sites, as well as leading clinical research institutes and pharmaceutical firms around the world. The vision is that these organizations could use the Watson Health Cloud to surface new insights from a consolidated, patient-centric view of current and historical images, electronic health records, data from wearable devices and other related medical data, in a HIPAA-enabled environment.

Under terms of the transaction, Merge shareholders would receive $7.13 per share in cash, for a total transaction value of $1 billion. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory review, Merge shareholder approval, and other customary closing conditions, and is anticipated to occur later this year.