WebMD’s stock has jumped nearly 20 percent as the medical news and health information website agreed to a $2.8 billion deal to be purchased by private equity firm KKR & Co.

KKR intends to fold a series of health information websites, including Webmd.com and Medscape.com, into its Internet Brands unit featuring DentalPlans.com and AllAboutCounseling.com, Reuters first reported. The New York-based companies came to the deal five months after WebMD announced it was exploring new revenue streams after pharmaceutical companies cut back on website advertising. WebMD's stock began soaring during early trading on Monday.

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KKR has agreed to pay $66.50 per share, which is 33 percent higher than the stock’s trading price at the beginning of this year. Analysts tell Reuters that the deal price of $2.8 billion was higher than expected, in part because Internet Brands’ set of websites will be a great fit for the medical information site.



Internet Brands launched as CarsDirect.com in 1998 and was also acquired by KKR in 2014 for $1.1 billion that included private equity firms Hellman & Friedman LLC and JMI Equity.

“We believe that this transaction will provide additional flexibility and resources to deliver increased value to consumers, healthcare professionals, employers, and health plan participants,” said Dr. Steven L. Zatz, chief executive of WebMD, in a news release.

WebMD Founded As 'Healthscape' And 'Healtheon' In 1996

According to Similar Web data analytics, webmd.com is ranked 117 in terms of U.S. website traffic. Founded in 1996 as “Healthscape” and “Healtheon” by James H. Clark and Pavam Nigam, the website became one of the most popular destinations for people to check symptoms or help diagnoses certain ailments. WebMD publishes WebMD the Magazine, a patient-directed publication that is distributed bimonthly to 85 percent of U.S. doctors’ waiting rooms.

KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts said WebMD’s higher-than-average second-quarter sales is an indication of a rebound in regulatory drug approvals in the U.S. and Europe.

"This is driving biopharma advertising demand and provides a positive read going into the second quarter reporting season for companies linked to the marketing of newly approved drugs,” KeyBanc told Reuters in a statement.

WebMD features health news articles, recent studies and meticulous information for any drug or medicine on the market.