Elliott Management, Bain Capital favored in bidding for athenahealth

Bain Capital and Elliott Management have teamed up as the frontrunner in the race to acquire athenahealth,  the New York Post reports.

Elliott, an activist investor known for its aggressive pursuits of companies it wants to acquire, made an unsolicited takeover bid to buy the health IT company in May. UnitedHealth and Cerner were reportedly two of the second-round bidders to express interest in acquiring athenahealth, but they have opted to pass, bankers told the Post.

Now, Elliott and Bain, which owns healthcare technology company Waystar, have joined together for a bid and are favored to acquire the $6 billion company.

Athenahealth Executive Chairman Jeff Immelt said during the company's second-quarter earnings call in July that the board was considering a sale, merger or keeping the company an independent entity.

New signs have emerged that the company may be leaning toward selling itself. A Sept. 5 SEC filing revealed athenahealth's ousted founder and CEO Jonathan Bush would receive $4.8 million if the company completed a sale. Mr. Bush, who resigned in June after Elliot's bid, will receive an additional $2 million in early 2020 if he upholds a noncompete agreement with the company, according to Bloomberg. He reportedly forfeited equity awards worth $17.8 million when he resigned.

The filing also showed Mr. Immelt earns $150,000 a month in salary and $150,000 in restricted stock.

Athenahealth will take second-round bids — which are expected to be around $160 per share — Sept. 17.

Cerner, UnitedHealth and athenahealth declined the Post's requests for comment.

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