Athenahealth CEO Bush apologizes for past assault

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The chief executive officer of Athenahealth, the medical software company that’s the target of a takeover attempt, issued an apology after a newspaper reported that he had violently attacked his ex-wife more than a decade ago.

The U.K.’s Daily Mail, citing 2006 court documents from a custody battle in Massachusetts, said Jonathan Bush, 49, had struck Sarah Seldon in the sternum with closed fists and once gave her a black eye. A spokeswoman for Athenahealth said the company, which Bush co-founded in 1997, became aware of the allegations on Friday when contacted by the Daily Mail.

“I take complete responsibility for all these regrettable incidents involving my dear former wife,” Bush, a nephew of former President George H. W. Bush, said in a statement. “I have worked very hard since then to demonstrate my remorse, and today, Sarah and I have a strong, co-parenting relationship. I accept responsibility for my conduct and apologize to everyone involved.”

In a separate statement, Seldon acknowledged that the “incident did happen, and is part of his and our family history; however, it should not define Jonathan as a person, or our relationship overall.”

Athenahealth is under pressure to accept a $160-a-share takeover offer from activist investor Elliott Management Corp. The hedge fund, which is run by billionaire Paul Singer, has written three letters to the company’s board detailing shareholder support for the deal and disappointment with the company’s performance.

Athenahealth said in a statement Tuesday that “we are fully committed to a safe and respectful work environment for all our employees.” The company said Bush continues to serve as CEO.

Bloomberg News