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Private equity firm KKR to buy WebMD for $2.8B

Health information website WebMD on Monday said it’s agreed to be acquired by the KKR private equity company in a deal valued at nearly $3 billion.

WebMD said it established an agreement with KKR’s Internet Brands portfolio in which a subsidiary will formally make an offer by Aug. 3 to acquire all issued and outstanding shares of WebMD’s common stock for $66.50 per share — or $2.8 billion.

The companies anticipate the deal will close during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017.

In a statement Monday, WebMD Chairman Martin J. Wygod said the deal will provide stockholders with “immediate and significant cash value and a substantial premium,” and that WebMD is “confident that this transaction maximizes value for our stockholders.”

Following a decrease in paid advertising by pharmaceutical companies, WebMD in February said it would “explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives” — which resulted in the sale.

Last year, about 60 percent of WebMD’s advertising revenue came from its Medscape medical news and education brand.

“WebMD and Medscape are the market leaders in online health with unparalleled reach to consumers and healthcare professionals,” Internet Brands CEO Bob Brisco said in a statement. “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.”

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