Ghosted athenahealth suitor asks for a sign

Hedge fund says $6.9 billion offer elicited 'dashed off' reply, then silence
By Ethan Andrews | May 16, 2018
Source: File photo Athenahealth's lodge building in Belfast, pictured before its grand opening in 2015.

"I am writing to you again," begins a May 14 letter from Elliott Management to athenahealth's board of directors.

The activist hedge fund fronted by billionaire Paul Singer recently offered to buy the Watertown Mass.-based health information technology company for $160 per share, or roughly $6.9 billion.

To its apparent dismay, it never heard back.

The letter, from Elliott's Partner and Senior Portfolio Manager Jesse Cohn, continues in the tone of a spurned lover, noting the refusal of athenahealth’s board to talk, "despite our repeated offers to make ourselves available for discussion.

"Moreover, as far as we are aware, athenahealth did not even engage an investment bank to evaluate our interest, as no investment bank or other third-party advisor contacted us. In fact, the Company’s response to our overtures amounted to nothing more than a one-paragraph letter dismissing our interest. This letter was dashed off so quickly that athenahealth forgot to even sign it (a signed version was transmitted to us 45 minutes later)."

The letter goes on to note that other interests also allegedly have made offers to buy athenahealth.

"... We would be disappointed to learn that athenahealth had refused to engage with any serious offers to buy the Company," Cohn writes. "However, nothing about the way the Company has behaved toward us gives us any reason to believe that any such engagement has occurred. In fact, several of these parties have confirmed to us that in the past, the Company failed to engage with them, too."

The letter ends on an upbeat note:

"We are excited about this opportunity and have a full team ready to engage in confirmatory diligence with the objective of reaching a definitive deal. Thank you for considering our offer. As always, we will make ourselves available at your convenience for further discussion or to answer any questions you may have."

Athenahealth has an office in Belfast with roughly 800 to 1,000 workers. Elliott Management owns 8.9 percent of the company's publicly traded stock. The hedge fund last November pushed for a reorganization at athenahealth that resulted in 500 layoffs, including roughly 20 in Belfast.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Patricia Keyes | May 18, 2018 09:59

I could think of other words, but ghosting is fine. Leave us alone, Elliot Management!  Just because you wave money around doesn't mean people have to jump. Thank God you only own 8.9%.



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