Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush violently attacked his now ex-wife, Sarah Seldon, according to 2006 court documents obtained by the Daily Mail.
The "numerous physical altercations" include "repeatedly slamming his closed fist into her sternum" and causing a black eye, according to the Massachusetts family court documents.
Bush issued an apology for his actions. "I take complete responsibility for all these regrettable incidents involving my dear former wife," Bush said in a statement. "I accept responsibility for my conduct and apologize to everyone involved."
Seldon also issued a statement in which she praised their "co-parenting relationship." "This incident … should not define Jonathan as a person, or our relationship overall," she said in the statement.
The news surfaced a few days after Elliott Management issued its latest letter to electronic health record vendor Athenahealth regarding the investment management firm's bid to buy the company for nearly $7 billion. Athenahealth's board of directors is still considering the sale, though it's been somewhat resistant to Elliott Management's pressure.
In the most recent letter from Elliott Management—which has a roughly 9% stake in Watertown, Mass.-based Athenahealth—partner Jesse Cohn argued that other Athenahealth investors support a sale. "The feedback has been overwhelmingly supportive of the idea that Athenahealth has struggled as a public company and should immediately and fully explore a value-maximizing sale," he wrote.
But in a statement, Athenahealth representatives contended shareholders don't unanimously support selling.
It's not yet clear whether the news will affect the sale offer. The fact that some shareholders already saw Jonathan Bush as a problem in the company might actually lessen the news' effect, said Andrew Freedman, a director at Hedgeye Risk Management, which said earlier this month that Athenahealth should go private.
"His role at the company has already been in question for the last year," Freedman said. "If Athenahealth were a well-oiled machine firing on all cylinders and Jonathan was seen as the operational linchpin of the organization, then on the margin this news would be much more detrimental to the deal going through and the value of the stock."
But that's not the case. "While he may be a visionary, he's not the best manager or operator, and the amount of problems in the last couple of years partly reflects that," Freedman said.
The Athenahealth board did not comment on how Bush's acts of violence might affect the potential sale, but the company did issue a statement saying, "As a company, we are fully committed to a safe and respectful work environment for all our employees."