News Corp. to Buy Stake in Healtheon/WebMD

News Corp., New York, yesterday said it will invest more than $1 billion in Healtheon/WebMD, Atlanta, which will make it by far the biggest investor in the online healthcare destination with a 10.8-percent stake.

The deal gives Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. entry into the healthcare market, while expanding the target audience for Healtheon/WebMD through News Corp.'s broadcast and print properties. News Corp. will also commit a total of $700 million in advertising to Healtheon/WebMD over the next decade. It is unclear how much of that will be dedicated to direct marketing. News Corp. will provide an additional $100 million for a 50-percent stake in a new international venture that will sell Healtheon WebMD products.

Healtheon and WebMD, whose merger was final last month, also have a stable of heavyweight strategic partners that include DuPont, Microsoft, Intel, CNN, and Reader's Digest.

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