WebMD, of the US, has bought Mercury Healthcare from Vestar Capital. WebMD provides information services to healthcare providers and consumers. Mercury claims to give health systems “the ability to analyze, target and precisely communicate to the right patient with the right message all while empowering their clients with transparency, performance data and demonstrable R0I”. It will be integrated into WebMD Provider, a clinical education tool. Terms not disclosed.
WebMD was founded in 1998 by internet entrepreneur Jeff Arnold. The following year, it was part of a three way merger with Sapient Health Network and Direct Medical Knowledge (DMK), before merging also with Healtheon. It has an estimated $800m of revenue, principally from advertising and sponsorship. In 2017, it was acquired by Internet Brands (a KKR-owned company) for $2.8bn.
The WebMD network, which claims 75m monthly uniques, includes: Medscape, Jobson Healthcare Information, MediQuality, Frontline, Vitals Consumer Services, Aptus Health, Krames, PulsePoint, The Wellness Network, MedicineNet, eMedicineHealth, RxList, OnHealth, Medscape Education. It has been ranked among the most trusted brands in the US by Millward Brown research and self-describes as “the leading provider of health information services and tools, serving consumers, physicians, healthcare professionals, employers and health plans”.
But the leadership claims might be challenged by Red Ventures whose Charlotte, North Carolina-based RV Health describes itself as the “world’s largest digital health platform” with more than 275m people visiting their websites (Healthline.com, Medicalnewstoday.com, Greatist.com and Psychcentral.com) each month.
Just last year, RV had acquired the online marketplace Healthgrades.com from Healthgrades – which then changed its name to Mercury Healthcare. So the two rival US healthcare information providers have effectively divided up Mercury Healthcare between them.
California-based Internet Brands operates across the healthcare, automotive, home & travel and legal sectors.