Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has agreed to buy online health information provider WebMD in a deal worth around $2.8 billion. Earlier this year, WebMD said it would explore strategic options “focused on maximizing shareholder value.”
The deal has been approved by the WebMD board and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017. The New York-based company will become part of the KKR-owned company Internet Brands, which already operates a number of web properties, including DentalPlans.com, eHealthForum.com, HealthBoards.com, FitDay.com, AllAboutCounseling.com. and VeinDirectory.org.
KKR will pay $66.50 per share, a premium of 20.5 percent to WebMD's Friday closing price.
"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."
WebMD was founded in 1996 by James H. Clark and Pavan Nigam as Healthscape. It publishes content regarding health and health care topics, including a symptom checklist, pharmacy information, drugs information and more. In the fourth quarter of 2016, it recorded an average of 179.5 million unique users per month.
KKR has also purchased a majority stake in Nature's Bounty, a company that sells supplements ranging from fish oil and Vitamin D pills to protein bars. The company’s brands include Nature’s Bounty, Sundown Naturals, Solgar, Osteo Bi-Flex, MET-Rx, among others.
Financial terms were not disclosed but the buy was reportedly valued at $3 billion. Carlyle Group, its private equity owner, will retain a minority stake after the close of purchase. This follows Nature’s Bounty’s recent agreement to sell its UK-based Holland & Barrett retail chain to L1 Retail, the retail investment arm of LetterOne.
"Nature's Bounty is a unique consumer health and wellness platform that has built an outstanding reputation for developing distinctive brands and high quality products," said Nate Taylor, head of consumer retail at KKR. "We are excited to partner with the management team to grow Nature's Bounty's global franchise."
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