athenahealth sees multiple bidders with extended deadline

08 Oct 2018 | SOURCE: Healthcare Dive



Dive Brief:

  • Multiple parties submitted bids to acquire athenahealth before last Thursday’s deadline, Healthcare Dive has learned. Whether healthcare payments system provider nThrive was among them, as reported by the New York Post, is unclear.
  • According to the Post, Saddle River, New Jersey-based nThrive submitted a merger proposal that is likely to be in the $135 per share range. The Post noted nThrive CEO Joel Hackney and recently named athenahealth CEO Jeffrey Immelt were former colleagues when they worked at GE.
  • However, a source with direct knowledge of the process told Healthcare Dive that nThrive did not submit a bid and is not part of the bidding process.


Dive Insight:

The latest round of merger proposals comes amid lukewarm bookings numbers and the recent exit of athenahealth founder and CEO Jonathan Bush, who stepped down in June following court records showing past domestic abuse charges.

In a May SEC filing, athenahealth’s largest shareholder, Janus Henderson Group, reported it had pressed the cloud-based health IT vendor to hang out the for sale sign after becoming concerned about athenahealth’s management and execution of strategic plans.

Elliott Management soon after submitted an unsolicited bid of $160 a share — or about $6.9 billion — for the company, but received little response on its proposal. The fund manager is among the prospects that submitted a bid last week, according to a source familiar with the process.

There was speculation when athenahealth extended the acquisition bid deadline to Sept. 26 that the move was to accommodate a strategic latecomer — possibly a competitor or supplier. nThrive would appear to be a good fit. The company provides revenue cycle management services to hospitals and physicians. Medical records software is a big business line for the company.

Companies like athenahealth looked to new revenue streams to generate income as most hospitals have adopted EHRs and new sales have waned. Among the products they’re investing in are RCM and population health.

“Revenue cycle performance will come more into focus as the industry transitions out of the Meaningful Use era,” Kyle Armbrester, former senior vice president and chief product officer at athenahealth, told Healthcare Dive earlier this year.

Cerner and Allscripts executives have also touted RCM’s growth opportunities over the past year.

Athenahealth and nThrive did not respond to inquiries about a possible merger proposal. Elliott Management declined to comment.

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