NEW YORK — WebMD Health Corp., which operates a network of health information sites has agreed to be acquired by Internet Brands, a KKR portfolio company, in a deal valued at $2.8 billion or $66.50 per share.
WebMD has been looking to sell itself for the past year. Shares in the company closed at $66.10 Monday, up $10.91 per share.
The deal valuation represents a premium of approximately 30 percent to WebMD’s share price on February 15, 2017, the day before WebMD announced that it was commencing a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives, as well as a premium of approximately 20 percent over WebMD’s closing share price on July 21, 2017. The acquisition is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2017.
“After a thorough review of strategic alternatives, we are pleased to announce this transaction, which provides our stockholders with immediate and significant cash value and a substantial premium,” said Martin J. Wygod, Chairman of WebMD. “Throughout this process, our Board has conducted diligent analysis and thoughtful deliberations. WebMD and its financial advisors had a process that involved outreach to more than 100 strategic and financial parties, and we are confident that this transaction maximizes value for our stockholders.”
“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, M.D., CEO of WebMD. “On behalf of everyone at WebMD, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to our employees for their hard work and dedication. I am confident this will be an exciting new chapter for WebMD.”
“WebMD and Medscape are the market leaders in online health with unparalleled reach to consumers and healthcare professionals,” said Bob Brisco, CEO of Internet Brands. “Since its founding, WebMD has established itself as a trusted resource for health information. 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.”
“KKR and Internet Brands are pleased to be investing behind the experienced WebMD management team and trusted WebMD platforms. The combined portfolio of leading vertical internet assets will be a powerful one,” said Herald Chen, Chairman of Internet Brands, KKR Member and Head of the Technology industry team. “We look forward to supporting and accelerating the growth and global expansion of the businesses.”
Internet Brands’ Health vertical serves millions of consumers and more than 50,000 health care practices utilizing a multi-brand, multi-product approach. The company is the leading SaaS / Web Hosting player in the Health space, serving a wide variety of practice areas, including Dental, Chiropractic, Veterinary, Vision Care, and Mental / Physical Therapy. Its Health SaaS businesses provide web presence, online marketing, and practice management solutions to practices across the United States. These businesses include Demandforce, Officite, Sesame Communications, and Baystone Media. The company’s consumer-focused health brands provide content and online communities for consumers in search of health-related information. These include DentalPlans.com, eHealthForum.com, HealthBoards.com, FitDay.com and VeinDirectory.org.
Equity financing for the transaction is being provided primarily by KKR’s private equity funds.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is serving as the exclusive financial advisor to WebMD and Shearman & Sterling LLP is serving as legal advisor. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is serving as legal advisor to Internet Brands.