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Leading vendor of cloud-based services for physician practices and inpatient settings, Athenahealth, Inc. (ATHN - Analyst Report) recently reported that it has concluded the purchase of the Watertown 'Arsenal on the Charles' from Harvard University. The Arsenal on the Charles is a large multiple building business property spread across 29 acres. It is situated just 10 miles from Boston.

The Arsenal on the Charles is recognized as a historical site. It has 11 buildings first built over 200 years ago. The complex has served as the company headquarters since 2005.

The deal is valued at $168.5 million. The property will ensure that the company has the ability to grow in the health care business.  

ATHN used a fresh $325 million senior bank facility of five years duration to fund its purchase of the Arsenal on the Charles. It comprised of $125 million of unsecured revolving credit and $200 million term loan availability. The latest credit arrangement will take the place of Athenahealth’s present revolving credit arrangement. One of the joint main arrangers was Bank of America Corporation (BAC - Analyst Report).

Athenahealth’s web-based deployment provides a low-cost scalable service while its flexible rules engine leads to higher efficiency in claims settlement. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based approach allows for a more flexible delivery mechanism that helps Athenahealth win deals. The company has traditionally enjoyed high customer satisfaction rates, which facilitates a larger number of referrals.

Athenahealth’s unique business model makes it a strong provider of RCM services (athenaCollector) designed for small physician practices. Its EHR product (athenaClinicals) is a key player in ambulatory settings. We believe that sales of athenaClinicals are likely to remain robust. In addition, the company will harness its newer products, namely athenaCommunicator and athenaCoordinator.

Athenahealth should benefit from its extensive athenaCollector client base, as only a minority of its subscriber base also utilizes athenaClinicals. Cross selling represents a real growth opportunity in the near term. In this regard, Athenahealth has made rapid strides in capturing the EHR business of physician practices. However, this segment is shrinking, as hospitals increasingly absorb physician’s medical practices.

Athenahealth is geared to establish itself in the enterprise segment. The company has recently signed on, and executed several enterprise-sized deals, which provide it with a credible and referenceable client base. In Mar 2013, Athenahealth completed the take over of Epocrates, a provider of point-of-care digital solutions in the healthcare industry. The acquisition will enable Athenahealth to increase its user network and improve its brand awareness.

Though fresh opportunities are shrinking, the replacement market has been growing. Competition is fierce and larger competitors may benefit from the incumbency factor. Industry stalwarts such as Cerner Corporation (CERN - Analyst Report) offer long-standing seamless products which integrate inpatient and ambulatory-care systems.

We currently have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) on the company. However, we are more positive about other stocks such as Merge Healthcare Incorporated (MRGE - Analyst Report) which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and is expected to do well. 

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