RealTime IT News

Healtheon Directors Buy $220 Million in Stock

Healtheon/WebMD Corp. Friday made an exception to its trading restrictions so that directors Jim Clark and John Doerr could purchase about $220 million in stock from the open market, giving the online healthcare firm a reprieve from languishing stock prices.

Clark, who co-founded the online healthcare firm in 1995 and Netscape in 1994, said he would increase his investment by $200 million. He currently owns approximately 11.7 million shares of Healtheon/WebMD (HLTH).

Doerr, a general partner for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers since 1980, said he would increase his stake in the giant with a $20 million investment. Doerr currently holds 8.1 million shares.

"The recent flurry of activity in the e-health space makes it clear to me that the healthcare industry is embracing the Internet. In these market conditions, I expect to increase my investment in Healtheon/WebMD by up to $200 million," Clark said.

Shares of Healtheon were up almost 33 percent to 28 3/4 on the news in afternoon trading.

Despite infusions totalling nearly $2 billion from Janus Capital and News Corp. (NWS) late last year, Healtheon's stock has plunged about a third in recent weeks following the formation of a health insurance consortium to compete with the titan.

The start-up coalition includes Aetna Healthcare, Cigna, WellPoint Health Networks, Oxford Health Plans, Foundation Health Systems and Pacificare Health Systems, according to Bloomberg News.