AthenaHealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) Acquires Epocrates (Nasdaq: EPOC)

It was just announced that AthenaHealth plans to acquire Epocrates. This is a big move by AthenaHealth and a really smart one. Here are the details of the agreement for AthenaHealth to acquire Epocrates from the press release:

The board of directors of each of athenahealth and Epocrates has agreed to a price of $11.75 per share, in cash, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $293 million. The purchase price represents a 22 percent premium over the closing price per share of Epocrates on NASDAQ on Friday, January 4, 2013. This is an all-cash offer for all outstanding shares of Epocrates’ common stock, and athenahealth intends to finance this acquisition using available cash and funds available from its existing credit facility. The closing of the transaction is subject to the approval of Epocrates shareholders and other customary closing conditions and is currently expected to occur early in the second quarter of 2013. Epocrates shareholders representing approximately 17.5% of the outstanding common stock have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

Of course, there are still a number of regulatory hurdles that must be overcome to make the transaction final, but this looks like it’s going to happen. Considering Epocrates stock price was so low after their initial IPO, this isn’t really a surprise. Plus, once Epocrates shut down their EHR business it presented a great opportunity for another EHR vendor to come in and capitalize on Epocrates relationships with the doctors. In fact, Jonathan Bush describes the value of the Epocrates brand really well:

“I have been an admirer of Epocrates since it first emerged and have watched the company grow consistently, one app download at a time, as it has cemented itself into the consciousness of America’s physicians. No other company has been able to replicate the brand awareness, familiarity, and trust that Epocrates has across the clinical mobile user base. We are confident that we can provide Epocrates with the stewardship and resources it needs to grow and develop within health care, and that Epocrates’ capabilities are going to mesh exceptionally well with athenahealth’s cloud-based physician and patient services.”

I’ll be interested to see how AthenaHealth chooses to integrate the Epocrates knowledge base within its EHR and how they use the Epocrates relationship to sale their EHR to doctors. Will the Jonathan Bush cloud mantra take hold in the Epocrates culture? I’ll be interested to watch that transition.