HLTH Corporation announced plans to merge with its WebMD Health subsidiary in a move that
could make the combined company an attractive takeover target for larger
Internet companies such as Google.
HLTH announced that it would merge into its 84%-owned subsidiary,
WebMD, in a $2.3 billion deal. Under terms of the transaction, each outstanding
share of HLTH common stock will be converted into shares of WebMD common stock
and $6.89 in cash. The transaction is expected to close in the second or third
quarter of 2008.
WebMD's senior management team is expected to continue to
lead the organization under current president and CEO Wayne Gattinella.
Meanwhile, WebMD Health Corp., which provides health
information through its website, said profit soared in the fourth quarter of
2007 due to a hefty tax gain and strong demand for online services.
WebMD's revenue for the
fourth quarter and full year excluded about $1 million and $4 million,
respectively, related to its offline professional medical reference and
textbook publication business, which was sold on Dec. 31.