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Veritas Capital, Evergreen Coast Capital to take athenahealth for $5.7 billion

por Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital, the private equity subsidiary of Elliott Management, have agreed to acquire athenahealth together for roughly $5.7 billion in cash.

The deal gives athenahealth stock holders $135 in cash per share – about 12 percent above the stock's November 9 closing price, athenahealth said in a statement.

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The deal might seem a bit of a tumble from the unsolicited $6.5 billion, $160 per share, offered in May by activist athenahealth investor Elliott Management, but should relieve shareholders, Leerink Partners analyst David Larsen noted, “given the steady deterioration in athenahealth's business. Following another quarter of weak bookings and disappointing earnings, we believe athenhealth would likely have traded to ~$105-$110 per share without a deal," reported Marketwatch.

Just-reported Q3 results show adjusted earnings-per-share at $1.08, above FactSet consensus but below street expectations, according to MarketWatch. Results also show a year-over-year bookings drop of 30 percent and margin declines. In addition, the company's health record offerings face competitive headwinds.

“The largest enterprises we have spoken with seem to be migrating to Cerner and Epic,” said Larsen, adding, “we don’t see how more restructuring will be able to correct this.”

Veritas and Evergreen are anticipated to merge their assets from athenahealth with Virence Health, the GE Healthcare value-based care assets picked up by Veritas this year, in the post deal-closing to create a privately-held company that is expected to continue under the athenahealth brand. It will have its headquarters in Watertown, Massachusetts, according to the company statement.

Virence chairman and chief executive officer Bob Segert and a leadership team of executives from both companies are anticipated to lead the new effort. Once the transaction closes, Virence's workforce management business will become its own company in the Veritas portfolio, under the API Healthcare brand.

“We are excited by the opportunity to partner with athenahealth, one of the largest and most connected provider networks in the nation, to drive outcomes that matter the most to our customers,” said Segert, adding that, “athenahealth and Virence have complementary portfolios and highly-talented people, and this combination expands our depth and reach across the continuum of care. I'm looking forward to combining our mission-driven cultures to create an even stronger healthcare IT company.”
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