WebMD to buy back shares from Carl Icahn

Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:39am EDT

Investor Carl Icahn speaks at the Wall Street Journal Deals & Deal Makers conference at the New York Stock Exchange in this June 27, 2007 file photograph. REUTERS/Chip East/Files

Investor Carl Icahn speaks at the Wall Street Journal Deals & Deal Makers conference at the New York Stock Exchange in this June 27, 2007 file photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Chip East/Files

(Reuters) - WebMD Health Corp (WBMD.O), a health information provider, will buy back all of the shares in the company beneficially owned by activist investor Carl Icahn and affiliates, the company said on Monday.

WebMD said it would pay $32.08 per share, the stock's closing price on Friday, to buy back about 5.5 million shares. It will pay $177.3 million in total to buy back the shares, the company said in a statement.

Icahn and his affiliates held a stake of about 12 percent in WebMD as of September 17, according to the latest regulatory filing.

WebMD, which operates medical websites providing information on health and diseases, said it would fund the buyback from its own cash and cash equivalents.

The deal is expected to be completed on Monday.

In July, WebMD reported its first profit in six quarters due to higher advertising revenue from its public websites.

After the buyback, WebMD expects to have about $550 million in cash and cash equivalents and $652 million in convertible notes outstanding.

Shares of the company were up slightly at $32.10 in premarket trade on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Robin Paxton)