WebMD names Schlanger CEO, announces buyback plan

WebMD names Schlanger CEO, announces offer to buy back up to 5 million shares

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- WebMD named interim CEO David Schlanger as its permanent chief executive after Cavan Redmond left before spending one year on the job.

The New York health information company also said Monday it has begun to buy back up to 5 million of its shares at $34 per share, which is slightly above its Friday closing price.

WebMD had named Schlanger interim CEO on May 7 after the Redmond's sudden departure. He joined the company on June 1, 2012 after serving as group president of animal health, consumer health care and corporate strategy at Pfizer Inc.

WebMD also said Monday that it also named Dr. Steven L. Zatz president. He had served most recently as executive vice president for professional services, where he was responsible for the company's websites and services, including Medscape.com, its site for health care professionals.

WebMD Health Corp. has been dealing with tough competition from social networking sites and ad networks, among other challenges. But it said July 31 that it turned a $2.6 million profit in the second quarter after reporting a $5.6 million loss in the same quarter of 2012.

The company's total revenue climbed 11 percent to $125.3 million.

The buyback announced Monday represents about 10 percent of the roughly 50.4 million shares of WebMD common stock outstanding as of Aug. 9, when the shares closed at $33.40.

The buyback adds up to $170 million. WebMD said it will use part of the roughly $1 billion in cash and cash equivalents it had outstanding as of Aug. 6 to fund the offer, which expires Sept. 10.

The price of WebMD shares has more than doubled since closing 2012 at $14.34. The stock has traded between $13.13 and $35.28 over the past year.

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