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Physicians' Online Gets Second Opinion

In a move designed to provide a comprehensive medical resource online, Mediconsult.com Tuesday acquired Physicians' Online in a stock deal worth $180 million.

Mediconsult.com (MCNS) agreed to purchase 100 percent of the shares of privately held Physicians' Online for 20 million of its common shares. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 1999.

The newly merged company claims to have the largest patient/doctor community online.

"The acquisition of Physicians' Online by Mediconsult creates the largest community of doctors and patients on-line, with more authenticated physicians than all other health Web sites combined," said Robert Jennings, chairman and CEO of Mediconsult. "The 80,000 physicians using the Physicians' Online service, combined with Mediconsult's leadership position in patient and caregiver communities, changes the landscape of online healthcare."

Jennings also said the combined company will offer a variety of services including medical education, health risk assessments, online prescription renewals through the doctor's office and a professional area for doctors.

The acquisition strengthens Mediconsult's position against other medical powerhouses like Healtheon/WebMD. The news also follows Medscape's alliance with America Online, designed to boost its brand.