Merge chairman resigns, considers bid to take company private

Merge Healthcare chairman Michael Ferro announced his resignation last Monday, and is considering a bid to take the company private.

Ferro (pictured) controls a 29 percent stake in the Chicago-based healthcare technology company, which is a provider of enterprise imaging solutions. Merge saw its stock price drop in early August after reporting a loss of $28.1 million in the second quarter.

The numbers were so poor that they resulted in a statement from Ferro apologizing for the company's "very disappointing second quarter results." In response, the company ousted CEO Jeffrey Surges, replacing him with company president Justin Dearborn. The company also promoted executive vice president of operations Nancy Koenig to Chief Operating Officer.

In a statement announcing Ferro's resignation, Ferro said that Merge is at the "heart of a large, growing and dynamic market for healthcare imaging. "As its largest shareholder," he said, "I have a lot riding on its future success."

Ferro added that while Merge's Q2 results were disappointing, he doesn't believe the current trading price of the company's common stock reflects its strengths, market position or long-term prospects. "While I have no immediate plans in this regard, over time, I intend to explore a variety of ways to increase shareholder value, including, possibly, a going-private transaction," he said.

In announcing Merge's second quarter results, Dearborn said that Merge's "value proposition continues to be very strong in three distinct market areas: imaging and interoperability, cardiology, and clinical trials." But, he added, the company's "spending on bring innovative solutions to market, has outpaced our end user markets' readiness for a variety of macroeconomic reasons currently clouding hospital decision making."

To learn more:
- see the statement announcing Ferro's resignation
- read the statement regarding Merge Healthcare's Q2 results

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