Exclusive: Digital media company Everyday Health explores sale - sources

October 20, 2016 3:41 PM EDT

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By Carl O'Donnell and Greg Roumeliotis

(Reuters) - Everyday Health Inc, a U.S. operator of health-related websites, is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, just two years after the company's initial public offering.

Everyday Health has hired investment bank Qatalyst Partners to carry out a sale process that has attracted other companies and private equity firms, the sources said. There is no certainty the negotiations will result in a deal, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the deliberations are confidential.

Everyday Health declined to comment. Qatalyst Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Everyday Health shares jumped as much as 22 percent on the news and ended 14.6 percent higher at $9.40, giving the company a market capitalization of $314 million.

Everyday Health runs dozens of websites and mobile apps, including flagships everdayhealth.com, medpagetoday.com and whattoexpect.com, that compete with digital media companies such as WebMD Health Corp.

The New York-based company founded in 2002 has struggled to live up to high expectations for revenue growth since going public in 2014. It has lost more than half of its market capitalization since its post-IPO highs.

Everyday Health has reported some disappointing quarters, driven by slower-than-expected growth in digital advertising sales.

Spending on such ads by pharmaceutical companies, Everyday Health's biggest clients, is expected to grow by more than 12 percent annually, according to data from research firm eMarketer.

(Reporting by Carl O'Donnell and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Richard Chang)

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