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Athenahealth CEO leaves; company ponders sale

Jonathan Bush, the chief of Athenahealth (ATHN), has stepped down from his role with immediate effect. The company has begun the search for a successor while Executive Chairman Jeff Immelt and CFO Marc Levine have been handed responsibility of the firm’s daily operations. Independent Director Amy Abernethy will advise the leadership team on strategy.

Bush, who is the nephew of ex-president George H.W. Bush, was in the news recently facing charges of domestic abuse against his ex-wife. A few days ago, he confessed in an open statement for bashing his ex-wife 14 years back. Bush founded Athenahealth in 1997. The exact reasons for his departure were not disclosed although there are allegations of misconduct.

Elliot Management had previously offered a price of $160 a share for Athena, amounting to a valuation of more than $6.5 billion

The healthcare software company also said it is considering strategic alternatives including a sale, merger or continuing as an independent company. The company has commenced discussions with third parties on the deal options. Athena has been fighting off the takeover attempts by Elliot Management, which is offering a price of $160 a share, amounting to a valuation of more than $6.5 billion.

Elliot Management was said to be frustrated with the performance of Athenahealth and wanted to take it private. Job cuts and management changes did not help the company which now has fewer chances of staying independent.

The Watertown, Massachusetts-based company meanwhile reaffirmed its full-year 2018 guidance provided in February for revenues of $1.31 billion to $1.38 billion. Shares of the medical billing software company rose about 8% in the early hours of trading today. So far this year, the stock has grown 11%.

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