PE Firms Team Up to Buy Athenahealth for $5B

After a strategic review, healthcare IT firm Athenahealth agrees to become part of Veritas Capital's Virence Health unit.
Matthew HellerNovember 13, 2018

Private equity firm Veritas Capital and hedge fund Elliott Management are teaming up to acquire healthcare technology company Athenahealth for $5.7 billion.

Athenahealth had been evaluating strategic options including a sale after coming under pressure from Elliott, which made a hostile takeover offer in May.

Under the deal announced on Monday, Veritas, a technology-oriented investor, and Elliott’s Evergreen Coast Capital private equity affiliate will buy Athenahealth for $135 per share, representing a 12% premium to the closing stock price on Friday.

Drive Business Strategy and Growth

Drive Business Strategy and Growth

Learn how NetSuite Financial Management allows you to quickly and easily model what-if scenarios and generate reports.

Athenahealth’s products include cloud-based electronic health records software, mobile apps, and patient engagement and care services for hospitals and outpatient care centers. Veritas and Evergreen expect to merge the company with Virence Health, the former GE Healthcare unit that Veritas acquired earlier this year.

“Athenahealth is a market leader and a natural and strategic fit with Virence,” Veritas CEO Ramzi Musallam said in a news release. “Virence and athenahealth have differentiated and complementary solutions, deep relationships with their respective customer bases and a shared culture of commitment to innovation.”

Elliott Partner Jesse Cohn also lauded the deal, saying it “represents an outstanding, value-maximizing outcome for Athenahealth shareholders.”

Athenahealth was co-founded by Jonathan Bush, a nephew of former president George H.W. Bush. It now provides provides billing and other digital services for 114,000 medical providers and stores more than 110 million patient records.

Bush resigned in June amid media reports of allegations that he had assaulted his former wife 14 years earlier.

Since disclosing in May 2017 that it had acquired a 9.2% stake in Athenahealth, Elliott had pressured the company to cut costs and name an independent chairman. Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt was appointed chairman in February.

“Combining with Virence will create new opportunities for collaboration and growth,” Immelt said on Monday. “Operating as a private company with Veritas’s ownership and support will provide athenahealth with increased flexibility to achieve our purpose of unleashing our collective potential to transform healthcare.”

4 Powerful Communication Strategies for Your Next Board Meeting