RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – IBM, which already is planning to split into two companies, is considering the sale of its high-profile Watson Health unit to further streamline the company, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

The move is seen as a possible way to allow IBM to focus more on its cloud computing efforts in which Raleigh-based Red Hat plays an essential role.

“IBM is studying alternatives for the unit that could include a sale to a private-equity firm or industry player or a merger with a blank-check company,” the Journal said.

The newspaper cited unnamed sources “familiar with the matter.”

The Watson unit built around IBM’s artificial intelligence technology known as Watson, “has roughly $1 billion in annual revenue and isn’t currently profitable,” sources told the paper.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is planning to spin off its services business in order to concentrate on the cloud.

Big Blue operates one of its largest corporate campuses in RTP.

IBM-Red Hat deal with Palantir is big boost for its artificial intelligence, cloud strategy

IBM, Red Hat land deal to help Delta Air Lines fly in the cloud