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Online health portal WebMD gets acquired for $2.8 billion

If you’ve ever tried to look for information about a disease or medicine online, you must have come across WebMD. It’s the leading provider of health information and has been in existence for almost 20 years now.

A leading private equity group KKR has now acquired it for $2.8 billion paying $66.50 for every share which means a 20% premium on company’s closing share price of  $55.19 on Jul 17, 2017. WebMD had gone public in 2005 but had been struggling in 2012-2013 as advertisers in the drug industry had made cuts in their budgets and WebMD used to (still does) earn more around 80% of its revenues from advertising. The website had also made a failed attempt to sell itself in 2012.

The online health information portal had receive more than 16 billion page views last year and is currently the 367th most visited website in the world according to SimilarWeb. With more than 60% its traffic coming from the United States, it ranks 117th most visited website in the country.

MENA ANGLE

Altibbi is the Arab-version of WebMD with more than 1.5 million pages of localized medical content in Arabic which includes medical articles, news, and Q&As. Founded in 2009, Altibbi has received investment only once; in a seed round of $2 million from regional VCs including Dash Ventures & MEVP. The portal on average receives 6 million visits every month and more than 90% of its traffic coming from search engines. WebMD has always had competition in form of Healthline & EverydayHealth. However, Altibbi is in a very unique position being the only health information portal that has such a large collection of localized content for the whole MENA region and that’s not it. Altibbi is also one of the pioneers in the region to have introduced the on-demand doctors through ‘Call a Doctor’ feature in its apps.

WebMD’s acquisition won’t really have any impact on Altibbi but it establishes the fact that us consumers searching information about diseases and drugs is a big business.

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Founder at MENAbytes
A tech and startup enthusiast based in Riyadh. Zubair apart from leading MENAbytes is also building Qraar, a career discovery and development platform for millennials in MENA. He can be reached on Linkedin, Twitter or zubair [at] menabytes [dot] com.

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