YARDLEY, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The StayWell Company LLC (“StayWell” or “the Company”), a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners (“Vestar”), today announced that Healthcare Services & Solutions, LLC (“HSS”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, U.S.A. (“Merck”), has invested in a majority stake in the Company.

“In addition, HSS’s existing portfolio of services and solutions has the potential to grow StayWell’s offerings and client base”

StayWell will continue to operate as an independent entity after the transaction. Vestar will retain a significant minority stake in the Company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

HSS offers services and solutions that help patients, providers, and payors around the world achieve improved health care outcomes more efficiently and at a lower cost, through cutting-edge illness prevention and wellness programs and care management offerings. HSS operates as a separate business unit, independent from Merck’s pharmaceutical products business. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.

“Allying StayWell with a Fortune ‘100’ global leader in health care provides access to increased resources that will propel StayWell’s product development and innovation. We look forward to offering our clients improved services and solutions to address their health care challenges, business objectives, and organizational needs,” said Bill Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer, StayWell.

“In addition, HSS’s existing portfolio of services and solutions has the potential to grow StayWell’s offerings and client base,” said Goldberg. “Longer term, HSS’s global reach and network will enable StayWell to offer expanded support to its global customers. StayWell will be better positioned to respond to industry trends and changing client needs.”

“The StayWell organization offers several significant enhancements for the existing HSS businesses, particularly with its rich health care content, delivered across multiple channels,” said Guy Eiferman, Managing Director, HSS. “StayWell also brings a large customer base, particularly in its domestic U.S. commercial footprint which includes hospitals, health care providers, health plans, major employers, and leading health advocacy organizations. Our shared emphasis on improving health outcomes, combined with our strong foundations in data, science, and evidence-based offerings, will provide new opportunities for both organizations as a result of this transaction.”

“Partnering with HSS will take StayWell to the next level of growth,” said Andrew Cavanna, Managing Director, Vestar. “We believe that our investment will be greatly enhanced by HSS’s market knowledge, suite of products, and executive leadership.”

Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Wells Fargo Securities advised Vestar. Covington & Burling LLP, Piper Jaffray & Co., and Accenture advised HSS.

About HSS
Healthcare Services & Solutions, LLC (HSS) is a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, U.S.A. that operates independently from the pharmaceutical business as a separate business unit, enabling HSS to build on a rich legacy and to explore new opportunities in human health care while leveraging its parent company's corporate capabilities in the health care industry, science, regulatory affairs, and outcomes research. Doing so allows HSS to develop and commercialize global value-added services and solutions with an evidence-based approach. For more information, please visit www.healthcareservicesandsolutions.com

About StayWell
StayWell is a health engagement company that helps its clients engage and educate people to improve health and business results. StayWell brings decades of experience working across the health care industry to design solutions that address its clients’ evolving needs. We fuse expertise in health engagement and the science of behavior change with an integrated portfolio of solutions and robust content assets to effectively engage people to make positive health care decisions. StayWell programs have received numerous top industry honors, including the C. Everett Koop National Health Award and the Web Health Award for health engagement programs. StayWell also has received URAC and NCQA accreditation for several of its programs. StayWell is headquartered in Yardley, Pennsylvania, and also has major locations in Salt Lake City, Utah and St. Paul, Minnesota. To learn more, visit www.staywell.com

About Vestar Capital Partners
Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm currently managing approximately $5 billion in capital. Specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments, Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners to build long-term enterprise value, with a focus on Consumer, Healthcare, and Business and Financial Services. Since Vestar’s founding in 1988, Vestar funds have completed 75 investments in companies with a total value of more than $40 billion. For more information, please visit www.vestarcapital.com

About Merck
For 125 years, Merck has been a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs, and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com

Forward-looking statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA
This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the companies’ patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).