KKR’s Internet Brands is adding to its health information vertical by acquiring WebMD for about $2.8 billion.
WebMD, a market leader in online health, will join an Internet Brands portfolio that also includes such websites as DentalPlans.com, eHealthForum.com, HealthBoards.com, and FitDay.com.
Internet Brands said Monday it will pay $66.50 per share for WebMD share, roughly a 20% premium to the Friday closing price of $55.19. WebMD reportedly attracted some 100 different bids.
“Since its founding, WebMD has established itself as a trusted resource for health information,” Internet Brands CEO Bob Brisco said in a news release. “We look forward to delivering that resource to even more users, by leveraging our combined resources and presence in online healthcare to catalyze WebMD’s future growth.”
According to TechCrunch, WebMD will be a “significant contributor” to Internet Brands, which monetizes websites through its advertising network and also provides services to help health businesses find more customers and for consumers to find healthcare.
The deal concludes a sale process that began after WebMD announced in February it was exploring strategic alternatives. The site ― which was founded in 1996 by Jeffrey T. Arnold, a former medical equipment executive ― was the only one in the medical/health vertical to make comScore’s top 50 websites in the U.S. in June, ranking 36th with 71.7 million unique visitors.
“WebMD has built up some pretty impressive [search engine traffic] among consumers who have taken to the internet to try to figure out what ails them and their friends and family, but they are in a hotly competitive space, and so it’s not too surprising to see some consolidation,” TechCrunch said.
“We believe that this transaction will provide additional flexibility and resources to deliver increased value to consumers, healthcare professionals, employers, and health plan participants,” said Steven L. Zatz, chief executive of WebMD.
Internet Brands’ other verticals include automotive, legal, home and travel. It was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 2014 for $1.1 billion.