By Greg Roumeliotis and Soyoung Kim
NEW YORK Nov 8 Merge Healthcare Inc, a
provider of medical imaging software solutions that is exploring
a sale, has attracted interest from at least five private equity
firms, according to people familiar with the matter.
Thoma Bravo LLC, GTCR LLC, Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe,
Francisco Partners and Avista Capital Partners are among the
buyout firms that have had meetings with the company's
management and considering submitting offers this month, the
people said. Merge Healthcare hopes to have offers in by Friday,
two of the people added.
Merge Healthcare, Thoma Bravo, GTCR and Avista declined to
comment, while representatives of Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe
and Francisco Partners did not immediately respond to a request
Merge Healthcare ended trading at $3.07 on Thursday, giving
the Chicago, Illinois-based company a market value of about $285
million. The shares are down about 37 percent year-to-date,
compared with a 30 percent rise in the S&P 500 Health Care
"We think it is difficult to predict the probability of a
sale or the multiple that would be paid for the business because
of the lack of growth and visibility," Dougherty & Company
analysts wrote in a note published on Nov. 1.
Merge Healthcare said in September that it appointed New
York-based investment bank Allen & Company LLC to evaluate
strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. The company
reported a third-quarter net loss per diluted share of 4 cents
last week, four times the loss it posted in the third quarter of
The company has been trying to transition from a traditional
sales model of software and hardware to a more reliable
subscription-based model. Subscriptions accounted for just 15
percent of Merge Healthcare revenue in the third quarter.