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Athenahealth Explores Strategic Alternatives As CEO Steps Down

Elizabeth Balboa

Amid a storm of sexual misconduct allegations against its top executive and a takeover attempt by Elliott Management Corp., Athenahealth, Inc (NASDAQ: ATHN) announced Wednesday the immediate resignation of Jonathan Bush as president and CEO and the exploration of strategic alternatives, including a potential sale or merger.

The board also appointed Jeff Immelt, former CEO of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), as executive chairman.

Why It’s Important

Athenahealth investors rode waves of volatility this year, with the stock fluctuating between $115 and $153. The latest management changes help rid the company of a PR sore spot and, as the board says, position Athenahealth to capitalize on its healthcare tech platform.

What’s Next

Athenahealth has begun a search process to select a new CEO, and it confirmed no announcements will be made regarding a merger unless the board has approved a transaction.

According to Elliott, the firm has received interest from other potential buyers.

The stock was halted in Wednesday's pre-market session. Shares re-opened at 9:50 a.m. ET, trading higher by 6 percent at $160.33 at time of publication.

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