Allscripts names CFO as reports of impending sale swirl

Richard J. Poulton

Electronic health record systems vendor Allscripts, which is said to be shopping for a buyer, announced Monday that Richard J. Poulton will sign on as chief financial officer, effective Oct. 29.

[See also: Web First: Q&A with Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman]

One of the reasons financial analysts downgraded Allscripts stock from “buy” to “neutral” at the end April, was the lack of a CFO. It was also then that Allscripts fired Board Chairman Phil Pead, which triggered three board members to resign in protest,

Allscripts' CFO had resigned to take another position outside of healthcare, a move that was reportedly unrelated to the turmoil within the company at the time. But the departure of a CFO by itself would have been enough to triggger a downgrade, analysts said at the time.

[See also: Lawsuit seeks Allscripts CEO's removal]

It does not appear that the hiring of Poulton for the CFO position will stem the tide of discussion pointing toward a sale of the company.

Last week Bloomberg reported that private equity firms Blackstone Group, Carlyle Goup and Silver Lake Management had each submitted a first round of bids.

“The move to electronic health records under Obamacare makes Allscripts a valuable property," wrote Paul Ausick Oct. 8 in The 24/7 Wall St. Street Morning Newsletter. “Just guessing here, but a buyout at $15 looks too cheap. And this company almost certainly will go to the highest bidder.”

 Allscripts shares were trading at $13.82 this morning,

According to an Allscripts filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Oct. 15, Poulton will receive an annual salary of $450,000. He will receive a one-time cash payment of $750,000 in June 2013 and will receive a new-hire equity grant of restricted stock units with a grant-date value of $1,000,000 and a 2012 long-term incentive equity grant of restricted stock units with a grant-date value of $1,000,000.

Also, according to the filing with SEC, if Poulton were to be terminated  in connection with a change in control of the cmpany, the severance payment would be two-times his salary and target bonus and full vesting of equity awards is provided.

Analysts trace the turmoil Allscripts is experiencing today to a 2010 merger with Eclipsys gone bad – a failure to execute on both product integration and culture integration.

The news release Allscripts issued Oct. 15 regarding Poulton’s hiring takes a business-as usual approach.