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World’s Go-To Health Website Purchased For Nearly $3 Billion

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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WebMD, a U.S. company famous for its online health information, announced Monday that it has agreed to be purchased by the private equity firm KKR for $2.8 billion.

The health services conglomerate first announced in February that it was undergoing a process of exploring and evaluating “potential strategic alternatives,” according to the company’s press release.

“Throughout this process, our Board has conducted diligent analysis and thoughtful deliberations,” WebMD Chairman Martin J. Wygod said in the official announcement. “WebMD and its financial advisors had a process that involved outreach to more than 100 strategic and financial parties, and we are confident that this transaction maximizes value for our stockholders.”

The deal will bring together a number of different medical-related websites, including WebMD’s eponymous page, Medscape.com, and MedicineNet.com, as well as KKR’s DentalPlans.com and AllAboutCounseling.com. Medscape in particular accounted for roughly 60 percent of WebMD’s 2016 advertising revenue, Reuters reports(RELATED: 3D-Printing Startup Wants To Make Prosthetic Limbs Affordable)

“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, which KKR owns. “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.”

It is not clear, though, how these forums, databases and sites will be affected, such as if they will be consolidated or remain separate.

The acquisition is expected to be fully completed during the fourth quarter of 2017.

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Eric Lieberman