As sale decision looms, at least 5 may bid for Athenahealth

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(Bloomberg)—Athenahealth is attracting interest from at least five potential bidders as an auction for the health information technology company nears an end, according to people familiar with the offer.

Private equity players including Bain Capital, Hellman & Friedman, Clayton, Dubiliar & Rice, and TPG are considering bids for the Watertown, Mass.-based company, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Elliott Management, the sometimes-activist fund run by billionaire Paul Singer, is also weighing a bid, they said.

Elliott, which owns 9 percent of Athenahealth, may keep that stake if it is unsuccessful in acquiring the company, the people said.

Athenahealth has received indications of interest of more than $135 a share, they said, with final bids due by the end of October.

Representatives for Athenahealth, Elliott, Bain, Hellman & Friedman, Clayton Dubiliar and TPG declined to comment.

Elliott has been agitating for changes at Athenahealth since May 2017. The New York hedge fund said in May 2018 it was prepared to offer $160 per share for the company, subject to due diligence.

In June, Athenhealth Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Bush stepped down following allegations of misconduct. At the time, the company said it would also explore a sale or merger and would commence a CEO search.

Earlier offers for Athenahealth came in at less than Elliott’s $160-a-share proposal, the sources said. The company reached out to some bidders who had balked at that valuation. and some re-entered the process, they said.

The value of Athenahealth shares have fallen 4.7 percent this year. Its stock value closed trading on Friday at $126.61 per share, giving the company a total market value of almost $5.1 billion.

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