Health IT

Will athenahealth accept Elliott Management’s hefty buyout offer?

After Elliott Management sent a third letter to athenahealth urging it to consider the offer, the EHR vendor retorted with a statement of its own, noting it will take its time in evaluating the bid.

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Earlier this month, Elliott Management put up a nearly $7 billion offer to buy athenahealth.

In anxious anticipation, the activist investor sent a third letter to the EHR vendor, urging it to carefully consider the sale. In it, Elliott Management listed feedback it has gathered about the potential sale.

“Regardless of the source, the feedback has been overwhelmingly supportive of the idea that athenahealth has struggled as a public company and should immediately and fully explore a value-maximizing sale,” Jesse Cohn, partner and senior portfolio manager, wrote.

The fairly pushy letter, which was released on Thursday, goes on to list quotes from equity research analysts, investors and the media.

“Athenahealth’s shareholders have spoken, and it is clear from their words and actions that rejecting the idea of evaluating a sale and instead offering assurances that the company has a standalone plan for getting back on track will not be accepted,” the letter reads.

The same day, athenahealth, which has remained fairly quiet thus far, responded with a statement of its own. The Watertown, Massachusetts company said it will take its time in reviewing the offer of $160 per share.

The vendor added that it has had “an ongoing dialog” with its shareholders as well as Elliott Management. The statement continues:

Although the company does not comment on the specifics of any conversations with its shareholders, this ongoing engagement has been constructive and has provided an opportunity for shareholders to share their perspectives with management and the board. Based on our discussions with shareholders, we do not believe the positions set forth in Elliott Management’s letter are representitive of the positions of all our shareholders.

It’s worth noting that athenahealth has been struggling. During a conference call with analysts in February, CEO Jonathan Bush said the demand for the vendor’s services “has been weaker than we expected this past year.” And at the end of 2017, it announced plans to cut 9 percent of its workforce and close its offices in San Francisco and Princeton, New Jersey.

Still, based on its retort, it looks as though athenahealth plans to take as long as it needs to evaluate and make a decision regarding Elliott Management’s offer.

Photo: bernie_photo, Getty Images