Only two weeks into the month of November 2018, and already the deal value is higher than all of October. Through November 14, nearly $9.8 billion has been spent, but that’s largely because of a single deal, and one that’s been long in the works. After a lengthy bidding process, athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) was acquired by Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital, the private equity subsidiary of activist investor group Elliott Management Corporation.
athenahealth’s focus is on hospital and ambulatory customers and its products range from medical records, revenue cycle, patient engagement, care coordination and population health services.
The final price of approximately $5.7 billion consists of $135 per share in cash. That represents a premium of about 12% over athenahealth’s closing stock price on November 9, 2018, the Friday close before the deal was made public on November 12. It’s currently trading around $131 two days later.
Back in May, Elliott Management partner Jesse Cohn sent a letter to athenahealth’s board of directors offering $160 per share in cash. The stock, which had crashed to around $126 per share on April 30, rebounded to $151 on May 7, the day the letter was made public.
At the time, Elliott owned 8.9% of the company and had made no bones about its view that the company hadn’t made enough changes to deliver greater shareholder value. CEO Jonathan Bush, long a star on the healthcare speaking circuit, was displaced in June and the talks began. Elliott kept sharpening its pencil, and the rumors flew.
Veritas Capital emerged as the majority stakeholder, with Evergreen Coast as minority investor. Veritas, with its focus on healthcare technology, has made some major plays in recent years, beginning with its $820 million acquisition of Verisk Analytics‘ (NASDAQ: VRSK) healtcare services business, Verisk Health, in April 2016. The data analytics division supports value-based healthcare delivery and payment systems, a theme that Veritas’s next deal added to.
In April 2018, Veritas paid $1.05 billion for GE Healthcare‘s (then NYSE: GE) Value-Based Care Division, which included Enterprise Financial Management (Revenue-Cycle, Centricity Business), Ambulatory Care Management (Centricity Practice Solution) and Workforce Management (formerly API Healthcare) assets.
In June, Veritas’ portfolio company Verscend Technologies (formerly Verisk Health) took Cotiviti Holdings (then NYSE: COTV) private for $4.9 billion. The digital health company specializes in payment accuracy and analytics-driven solutions for payers, other risk-bearing healthcare organizations and retailers.
Now, Veritas is ready to merge athenahealth with its newly named Virence Health Technologies (the fomer GE Healthcare assets), which provides technology and analytics to help healthcare providers in all areas of healthcare to manage financial, clinical and human capital workflows. It provides a suite of software solutions to ambulatory and acute care customers across the United States.
The combined business, which will now be called athenahealth, is expcted to be a leading healthcare information company with an extensive national provider network of customers and world-class products to help them manage, if not thrive, in the increasingly complex healthcare industry.
Virence Health chairman and CEO Bob Segert will lead the charge, after then deal closes in the first quarter of 2019.