KKR to buy WebMD for $2.8B, take majority stake in Nature’s Bounty

July 24, 2017
The busiest buyout firm in the world so far this year is back at it, this time with a pair of blockbuster acquisitions in the healthcare sector.

First, KKR and portfolio company Internet Brands have agreed to buy WebMD (NASDAQ: WebMD), the provider of an online database of health information, for $66.50 per share, or about $2.8 billion. The take-private deal represents a 30% premium to WebMD’s closing price February 15, just before the sale process was announced, and a 20% premium to its closing price Friday. 

KKR acquired Internet Brands from JMI Equity and Hellman & Friedman for a reported $1.1 billion in 2014. As its name indicates, the company is an owner of online brands, with a focus on the auto, health, legal, and home & travel markets. WebMD, meanwhile, is a popular healthcare website best known for allowing users to enter their symptoms and responding with a list of possible diagnoses.

In a separate deal, KKR has tapped its KKR Americas Fund XII to purchase a majority stake in herbal supplement provider Nature’s Bounty from The Carlyle Group, which bought the company in 2010 for $4 billion. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but an earlier Reuters report indicated that banks were arranging $1.5 billion in debt packages for a deal that could be valued at as much as $6 billion. 

KKR likely paid a substantially lower price than that, however. The deal comes less than a month after Carlyle agreed to sell Holland & Barrett, the international division of Nature Bounty, to L1 Retail for £1.77 billion, splitting the company up rather than selling all its assets at once. 

It’s been a wild year for KKR, which has completed 50 private equity deals in 2017, per PitchBook data, more than any firm in the world. And the action extends beyond buying and selling companies. Last week, the firm outlined a succession plan that lines up Joseph Bae and Scott Nuttall as the heirs apparent to firm founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts.

Check out more of our KKR coverage.

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