Two private equity firms close to $ 17 billion deal to acquire Athenahealth: WSJ report

Two private equity firms are set to close a deal to acquire Athenahealth for $ 17 billion, including debt, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Private equity firms Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman LLC are set to close a deal to acquire Athenahealth Inc. for around $ 17 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter say. WSJ’s Cara Lombardo and Miriam Gottfried reported Friday.

A deal for the health tech company could be done in the coming days, Lomboardo and Gottfried report, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The private equity pair are set to win at a company auction in Watertown, Mass., Although there is no guarantee they will strike a deal, according to the WSJ.

Bloomberg reported in September that Athenahealth private equity owners Veritas Capital and Elliott Investment Management were exploring options for the health tech company, including a sale or an initial public offering.

The provider of electronic health records (EHRs) and practice management software went private in February 2019 after Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital, a subsidiary of Elliott Management, acquired the company for $ 5.7 billion . As part of this agreement, Athenahealth has been combined with Virence Health, the former GE Healthcare value-based care assets that Veritas acquired in 2018.

RELATED: Veritas Capital Completes Acquisition of Athenahealth, That Combined Company Will Have ‘Transformational Impact’

Activist hedge fund Elliott owned by Paul Singer began publicly pressuring the company in May 2018 to consider a takeover bid valued at $ 160 per share, or around $ 7 billion, arguing that the company was undervalued.

This sparked tumultuous several months in which longtime founder and CEO Jonathan Bush was forced to step down, and the company began to consider outside deals under the leadership of GE chairman and former CEO Jeff Immelt. UnitedHealth and Cerner were reportedly among those who submitted initial offers. At one point, healthcare payment company nThrive was supposed to become the company’s white knight.

The sale or potential IPO of Athenahealth comes as investments and mergers and acquisitions in the health technology sector are booming and multiples are skyrocketing.

RELATED: Athenahealth Veritas Capital Owners, Elliott Management Consider Sale or IPO: Report

Notable deals include the planned merger of healthcare data company Datavant and healthcare IT company Ciox Health for an estimated $ 7 billion, as well as Accolade’s acquisition of PlushCare, a virtual company of primary care and mental health treatment, for $ 400 million.

Other big deals to watch include the purchase of Inovalon Holdings Inc. by Nordic Capital and Insight Partners for $ 6.4 billion and UnitedHealth Group’s plans to buy Change Healthcare for around $ 13 billion.

Hellman & Friedman has offices in San Francisco, New York and London and has more than $ 80 billion in assets under management and committed capital.

Bain, who is based in Boston, manages approximately $ 150 billion in assets through private equity, private equity, venture capital and real estate credit.

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