Allscripts shares plunge as company drops plan for sale

Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:36am EST

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* New CEO Black sketches plans for role at Allscripts

* Chairman says strategic review process was "rigorous"

* Stock down 17 pct amid disappointment in no sale

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Shares of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc fell nearly 17 percent on Thursday after the company abandoned plans to sell itself and instead introduced new management to run the company as an independent entity.

Allscripts, which sells systems that allow hospitals and physicians to share patient records electronically, announced the news late on Wednesday.

On Thursday the company's chairman, Dennis Chookaszian, told analysts on a conference call that the board had conducted a "rigorous" review of its options and ultimately decided that the best way to create value for shareholders was to exploit the company's long-term growth potential.

Allscripts named Paul Black, former chief operating officer at rival Cerner Corp and an Allscripts board member, to replace Glen Tullman, who led the company for 15 years.

Black, who addressed shareholders on the call, said his goals include freshening the company's product line, enhancing operating efficiencies and working to retain existing clients. He said he will spend time meeting with "key constituents" before laying out his plan in detail.

The company declined to provide any financial guidance except to say it was happy with the way the fourth quarter started. Black said he expects the company to benefit from having clarity now that the review process is over.

"There has been a lot of disruption in the marketplace," he said. "A lot of people were hesitant to make a decision until they knew who they would be working with."

Chookaszian declined to say whether the board's decision to remain independent was unanimous, saying the board "doesn't comment on its decisions."

Allscripts shares were down 16.6 percent at $8.91 on the Nasdaq on Thursday morning.

(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Boston; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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