A report circulated over the weekend that athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush confessed to “numerous physical altercations” with ex-wife Sarah Seldon in 2006. 

Bush on Tuesday apologized in a statement shared with media outlets. But what’s not clear is why the report came to light now as athenahealth faces pressure from two different activist investors.  

Elliott Management, which owns 9 percent of the cloud-based EHR vendors stock, has an open $7 billion takeover offer on the table. Janus Henderson Group, athenahealth’s largest shareholder at nearly 12 percent, is publicly urging athenahealth’s board to consider a sale. 

The healthcare technology company based in Watertown, Massachusetts, was made aware of the story on Friday by the reporter from the Daily Mail , after an undisclosed source provided the documents to the reporter, according to an athenahealth spokeswoman Holly Spring.

Athenahealth did not respond to our question on the timing of the court documents coming to light as athenahealth mulls the offer by hedge fund Elliott Management to take the organization from public to private.

“All I can tell you at this point is that the board continues to review the Elliot offer and in due course will move forward with the best next step for the company and its shareholders,” Spring said Tuesday.

Bush issued this statement on the domestic abuse allegations: “I take complete responsibility for all these regrettable incidents involving my dear former wife. They occurred 14 years ago during a particularly difficult personal time in my life when I was going through a divorce. At that time, I apologized to Sarah and took responsibility for my actions.  I have worked very hard since then to demonstrate my remorse, and today, Sarah and I have a strong, co-parenting relationship. I accept responsibility for my conduct and apologize to everyone involved.”

Bush, as is widely-known in the health IT space, is a cousin of President George W. Bush and nephew of President George H.W. Bush. 

Sarah Seldon issued this statement: “Jonathan and I have a strong, co-parenting relationship. One of respect, collaboration and love. Like many families, ours is not perfect. Neither of us are proud of the events that occurred during our divorce. This incident did happen, and is part of his and our family history, however it should not define Jonathan as a person, or our relationship overall. He is a wonderful person and father.”

And athenahealth issued its own statement as well. 

“We are aware that Mr. Bush has made amends with his ex-wife and has shown deep remorse,” the company said. “We are fully committed to a safe and respectful work environment for all our employees.”

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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