Industry Leaders Skeptical of Virence/athenahealth Merger

A recent merger between companies athenahealth and Virence Health Technologies (VHT) has been met with some mixed reactions from their client base, survey says. According to Reaction Data, the market research firm who conducted the poll, many industry leaders in healthcare have expressed skepticism about the upcoming amalgamation. Current customers of the two suppliers are adopting a “wait and see” approach to the combined company. Of those who are not customers, the majority stated they have no plans to purchase software solutions from them.

Veritas Capital, a private equity business specializing in publicly-influenced sectors such as education and health care, partnered with Elliott Management to acquire athenahealth for $5.7 billion in November. Athenahealth, a Massachusetts’ based organization, provides electronic health record and practice management services and will be folded into their subsidiary once the merger is complete.

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Virence Health Technologies, rebranded so after Veritas’ purchase of GE Healthcare’s Value-Based Care Assets, offers revenue cycle, ambulatory care and workforce management software solutions to their customers. The intent of the merger with athenahealth, Veritas stated in a press release, is to create a world-class, privately-owned company capable of offering innovative healthcare technology products and services to their extensive national provider network of customers.

Reaction Data polled healthcare leaders from over 150 organizations to gauge awareness and support of their merger and acquisition of athenahealth/Virence. More specifically, they analyzed the data to assess how likely they will attract, or repel, new business.

Interestingly, less than half (44 percent) of the survey respondents reported they were aware that Veritas had purchased three of GE Healthcare’s key software product lines over six months ago. However, a majority (60 percent) were aware that they had acquired athenahealth with the intention of merging it with Virence Health despite the recency of the event (November 2018).

In terms of overall impressions, 45 percent were neutral about the impact of upcoming merger. Of the remaining respondents, 26 percent expressed a positive opinion and 29 percent a negative opinion about the merger. For those who are current customers, half of them (51 percent) stated they will “wait and see” approach to the merger while the remaining half were evenly split between staying (24 percent) and leaving (25 percent).

The rest of the market (non-customers) may require even more persuasion. Nearly 60 percent stated that it isn’t likely they would consider them for future purchases. The remaining 32 percent stated the would “wait and see” before buying-in.