Health publisher WebMD to be acquired by KKR & Co’s Internet Brands for $2.8bn

By Prasun Bose

US health publisher WebMD Health Corp is set to be acquired by Internet Brands, a portfolio company of private equity firm KKR & Co LLP, in a deal worth $2.8bn.

Under the terms of the all-cash deal, Internet Brands will obtain WebMD’s issued and outstanding shares for $66.50 per share, with the transaction expected to close in the last quarter of 2017.

New York-based WebMD has been on the hunt for a prospective buyer in recent months following a fall in advertising revenue, with interest expressed by over 100 suitors.

It operates a number of websites providing information and news in the healthcare sector, including WebMD.com, Medscape.com and MedicineNet.com.

These sites will fall under the same umbrella as KKR’s Internet Brands platforms; sites such as DentalPlans.com, VeinDirectory.org and AllAboutCounselling.com. 

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“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."

Reuters first reported the deal late on Sunday, with the takeover confirmed by both invested parties in a joint press release on Monday. 

“KKR and Internet Brands are pleased to be investing behind the experienced WebMD management team and trusted WebMD platforms,” added Herald Chen, Chairman of Internet Brands, KKR Member and Head of the Technology industry team.

“The combined portfolio of leading vertical internet assets will be a powerful one. We look forward to supporting and accelerating the growth and global expansion of the businesses.”

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