A merger that was announced in February between HLTH and WebMD will not take place. According to Modern Healthcare, HLTH already had an 84 percent ownership stake in WebMD, which will have $340 million in cash and investments, with no long-term debt. The main culprit in the merger's demise? The economy, according to Martin Wygod, board chairman for both WebMD and HLTH. "In the current economic environment, it is important for a growth company like WebMD not to be encumbered by $650 million in long-term debt that would be coming due in 18 to 36 months," he said in a written statement.
Under the terms of the initial agreement, WebMD was to receive $700 million in cash and investments, while HLTH would have reduced its shares in the website from 84 percent to 80 percent. HLTH has also had difficulty trying to sell second subsidiary, Porex, due to financing issues.