Shares of WebMD Health (WBMD - Free Report) skyrocketed 19.59% in premarket trading on Monday following news that private equity firm KKR & Co. (KKR - Free Report) will buy the online health publisher for $2.8 billion.
KKR will pay $66.50 per share in cash, a 20.5% increase from WebMD’s closing price on Friday.
The deal will bring together WebMD’s websites, such as WebMD.com, Medscape.com, and MedicineNet.com, with those owned by KKR under its Internet Brands unit, including DentalPlans.com and AllAboutCounseling.com.
“We believe that this transaction will provide additional flexibility and resources to deliver increased value to consumers, healthcare professionals, employers, and health plan participants,” said WebMD Chief Executive Steven Zatz.
Founded in 1996, WebMD is best known for its health information services websites, such as WebMD.com, that includes a symptom checklist, pharmacy information, drug information, and more. The company’s sites attracted 179.5 million unique users per month according to WebMD’s fourth quarter 2016 earnings conference call.
In February, WebMD said it would explore strategic alternatives, including possible sale of the company, after advertising paid for by pharmaceutical companies slowed.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.
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