Truven Health Analytics CEO Mike Boswood (left) and IBM Watson Health General Manager Deborah DiSanzo as IBM announced plans to acquire Truven for $2.6 billion, Feb. 18, 2016. IBM/John Gress

International Business Machines Corp. announced Thursday plans to acquire Truven Health Analytics, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based provider of healthcare data and analytics, for $2.6 billion. The cloud-based analytics company will become a part of IBM’s Watson Health business, which was launched in April 2015.

Truven’s acquisition, IBM’s fourth major health data-related acquisition in the past year, will add more than 8,500 clients, including U.S. federal and state government agencies, employers, health plans, hospitals, clinicians and life sciences companies to the Watson Health portfolio, according to a statement issued by IBM.

The deal will also increase Watson Health’s global employee count to over 5,000. Acquiring Truven will boost IBM’s health cloud business to represent approximately 300 million patients, of whom about 215 million will come from Truven, the statement added.

“Truven’s impressive team, extensive client roster, and expansive data sets complement Watson Health's broad-based team, capabilities and offerings,” Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health, said. “Together, we’re well positioned to scale globally and to build first-in-class offerings designed to help our clients apply cognitive insights in a value-based care environment.”

Once the acquisition is complete, IBM would have spent over $4 billion on acquiring healthcare data-related businesses. It had previously acquired Merge Healthcare (medical imaging), Explorys (cloud-based healthcare intelligence) and Phytel (population health). According to Bloomberg, the Merge Healthcare acquisition cost the Armonk, New York-based company $1 billion.

Truven was formerly the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters, which had sold it to a New York private equity firm, Veritas Capital, for $1.25 billion in 2012.

The deal, subject to customary regulatory reviews and closing conditions, is expected to be completed later this year. IBM shares closed more than 5 percent higher Thursday.