Sharecare, Healthways Continue Working on Post-Acquisition

Ever since the acquisition of Healthways, one of Williamson County’s biggest employers, by Sharecare, a leading digital healthcare company, the companies have been figuring out where to go next.

The planning continues this week, with Sharecare executives in town.

When the $30-million deal closed on July 31, Sharecare got Healthways’ brand, its name and its population health programs. What was left of Healthways, whose stock before the announcement had dropped 32 percent in the previous 12 months, is in the process of rebranding, re-consolidating and refocusing.

Since the merger, Sharecare employees have been coming back and forth between Nashville and Atlanta, where the privately-held company is headquartered.

“Sharecare employees have been coming back and forth ever since the announcement,” said Jen Martin Hall, vice president for communications at Sharecare.”We will be spending more time with Healthways employees this week to work towards the transition.”

For the local economy, the deal will not take any jobs away or displace any employees — at least not any Williamson County employees. Some may come from Atlanta for at least the transition period.

“We are looking at it like we are adding 1,700 employees to Sharecare,” said Martin Hall. “We are really going to get to know the highway from Atlanta to Nashville. We feel pretty good about people being able to focus on business as usual because we are not displacing any employees, and a lot of what we do is already very complimentary.”

As for long-term, the acquisition could potentially lead to local expansion and job growth.

“Overnight we have tripled our company, and Sharecare has huge growth potential going forward, whether in square footage or in people — I couldn’t say yet, but just from sheer revenue and opportunity,” Martin Hall said. “We have a lot of good momentum in Nashville and deep history and roots there personally, and, as well, of the $200 million we have raised, $60 million came from there.”

The benefits from the acquisition could possibly double Sharecare’s revenue to close to a half billion dollars by next year, she said.

“Healthways, from our perspective, really started the population health movement before anyone even knew what it meant,” Martin Hall said. “This will be a big shot in the arm, because we will be able to take our technology and use it to deliver to tens of millions of people the science and programs that Healthways has developed.”

Sharecare is maintaining Healthways’ offices at 701 Cool Springs Blvd. in Franklin, where nearly 1,200 of Healthways 2,500 employees work. Healthways will also remain at the same location.

“It is hard to tell what it will mean long-term, but we have been through this before with an out-of-market company buying a Williamson County-based one,” said Matt Largen, CEO of Williamson, Inc. “We make sure to prioritize talking to our largest employers, and we will stay in touch with the company to try to convince them to keep as many workers here as possible.”

Other recent acquisitions of Williamson County-based companies by an out-of-state buyer include FleetCar’s purchase of Comdata in 2014 and CareCore’s merge with MedSolutions, also in 2014. Both times, for the most part, the new out-of-state owner kept the operations and the employees of the purchased company in Williamson County.

Donato Tramuto, Healthways’ CEO, said in a strategic assessment the deal would help both companies.

For up to $30 million in stock, Sharecare bought Healthways’ total population health services and emerging solutions businesses, which include the Blue Zones Project and Dr. Omish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease.

Healthways, as part of the agreement, will pay Sharecare $25 million to cover expected losses and give back up to $20 million of Sharecare stock to cover losses that exceed expectations.

Healthways, which had a 2015 revenue of $742.2 million but reported a $14.2 million loss in the first quarter of 2016, will restructure.

Going forward, Healthways will focus on its network solutions business, including its three primary networks: SilverSneakers Fitness, Prime Fitness and Physical Medicine.

“Through our analysis, it was clear that we could create the most value for shareholders, customers and colleagues by focusing exclusively on, and investing in, our growing and profitable network solutions business, which is a more targeted population approach for our go forward business model,” Tramuto wrote in a strategic assessment.

The assessment projected the company would have an annual revenue going forward of more than $500 million, with at least 20 percent margins.

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