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October 23, 2017

Athenahealth lays off 9% of workforce, including some in Belfast

Electronic health care company athenahealth last week laid off 500 workers through its seven locations, or about 9% of its total workforce, with "[a]ll geographies impacted to varying extents," athenahealth headquarters spokeswoman Victoria Gavaza wrote in an email to the Bangor Daily News.

About 900 people work at athenahealth's Belfast facility.

WABI 5 in Bangor reported an unknown number of layoffs at the Belfast site.

The BDN reported that behind the cuts was Elliott Management, an activist hedge fund that bought 9.2% of athenahealth in May. In a conference call with investors last week, CEO Jonathan Bush said the company is "fighting headwinds" in a lackluster market and the belt-tightening isn't a one-time event.

"The organizational redesign will result in a leaner, more simplified structure that is more responsive to client needs and is expected to improve employee engagement by increasing efficiencies, streamlining workflow and enhancing accountability," athenahealth stated in an Oct. 19 release reporting its third quarter earnings.

The Watertown, Mass.-based company stated a portion of the resulting $100 million to $115 million in savings would be reinvested "to drive innovation and fund our highest priority initiatives."

"We expect the majority of the savings to flow to the bottom line and drive margin improvement, consistent with our commitment to sustainable profitable growth and value creation," the company stated. "athenahealth remains committed to significantly increasing operating margins in 2018."

IDEXX Laboratories Inc. Chief Financial Officer Brian McKeon was appointed to athenahealth's board in September to help with the company's retooling.

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