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AthenaHealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) Acquires Epocrates (Nasdaq: EPOC)

Posted on January 7, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

It was just announced that AthenaHealth plans to acquire Epocrates. This is a big move by AthenaHealth and a really smart one. Here are the details of the agreement for AthenaHealth to acquire Epocrates from the press release:

The board of directors of each of athenahealth and Epocrates has agreed to a price of $11.75 per share, in cash, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $293 million. The purchase price represents a 22 percent premium over the closing price per share of Epocrates on NASDAQ on Friday, January 4, 2013. This is an all-cash offer for all outstanding shares of Epocrates’ common stock, and athenahealth intends to finance this acquisition using available cash and funds available from its existing credit facility. The closing of the transaction is subject to the approval of Epocrates shareholders and other customary closing conditions and is currently expected to occur early in the second quarter of 2013. Epocrates shareholders representing approximately 17.5% of the outstanding common stock have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

Of course, there are still a number of regulatory hurdles that must be overcome to make the transaction final, but this looks like it’s going to happen. Considering Epocrates stock price was so low after their initial IPO, this isn’t really a surprise. Plus, once Epocrates shut down their EHR business it presented a great opportunity for another EHR vendor to come in and capitalize on Epocrates relationships with the doctors. In fact, Jonathan Bush describes the value of the Epocrates brand really well:

“I have been an admirer of Epocrates since it first emerged and have watched the company grow consistently, one app download at a time, as it has cemented itself into the consciousness of America’s physicians. No other company has been able to replicate the brand awareness, familiarity, and trust that Epocrates has across the clinical mobile user base. We are confident that we can provide Epocrates with the stewardship and resources it needs to grow and develop within health care, and that Epocrates’ capabilities are going to mesh exceptionally well with athenahealth’s cloud-based physician and patient services.”

I’ll be interested to see how AthenaHealth chooses to integrate the Epocrates knowledge base within its EHR and how they use the Epocrates relationship to sale their EHR to doctors. Will the Jonathan Bush cloud mantra take hold in the Epocrates culture? I’ll be interested to watch that transition.

EHR Company Funding Risks – Large Company Backed EHR

Posted on June 1, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This is the fifth and final post in my EHR Company Funding Risks series that was started in response to my original post about the The Current Health IT & EHR Bubble. In this series, we’re looking at the following EHR company categories: Seed Funded, Well Funded, Positive Cash Flow, Large EHR Company, and Large Company Backed EHR. Next up is Large Company Backed EHR.

Large Company Backed EHR
The companies in this category are quite interesting, because they can often exhibit the characteristics of EHR software in every other category of EHR company. It’s all about the story of the company. For example, I’ve come across some really large companies who have developed their own EHR and only have 1 practice using their EHR. This is very much like a seed company. There are some larger companies who have acquired essentially the EHR software of another company and now they’re trying to grow the user base similar to a well funded EHR company.

I can think of a few EHR acquisitions where the large EHR company acquired a cash flow positive EHR company and they’re continuing to grow that EHR company in a cash flow positive way. Then, of course there are a few large companies that have large EHR install bases as well. There’s also everything in between in this category, so it’s hard to generalize about this group.

With that said, since it has the backing of a large company (in healthcare or not in healthcare) the biggest risk is that they’ll shift their priorities from the EHR software and on to something else in their company. Most large companies trying to get into the EHR software business come quick out of the gate. If they do well, they’ll continue growing it like they did. If they don’t do well, they’ll often throw in the towel by cutting resources to that venture and then eventually a sale of the EHR assets to another company.

Read all the posts in the EHR Company Funding Risks series.