Office Hours

Sale of NightHawk Radiology approved; no word yet on CDA jobs


Marissa Dodd looks at a chest X-ray and the accompanying patient file on her computer monitors at Nighthawk Radiology. The Coeur d'Alene representatives gather the electronic scans and organize the necessary information, then forward it to radiologists on standby around the world.
 (The Spokesman-Review)
Marissa Dodd looks at a chest X-ray and the accompanying patient file on her computer monitors at Nighthawk Radiology. The Coeur d'Alene representatives gather the electronic scans and organize the necessary information, then forward it to radiologists on standby around the world. (The Spokesman-Review)

A Minnesota company on Wednesday officially bought NightHawk Radiology, once one of North Idaho’s fast-rising tech firms.

Virtual Radiologic’s purchase of NightHawk was approved Wednesday as shareholders voted to take the offer of $6.50 per share or about $170 million. Both companies provide teleradiology services, using doctors in a number of dispersed time zones who remotely look at medical images and provide quick readings of those tests for doctors, clinics and hospitals.

Virtual Radiologic Vice President of Marketing Les Mann also said it’s unclear what will occur with the remaining 70 NightHawk employees working in Coeur d’Alene. Those are the remaining workers who stayed in North Idaho after the company moved the NightHawk main office to Scottsdale, Ariz., earlier this year. Nationwide NightHawk has about 300 positions.

“That question (about NightHawk jobs) is in the to-be-determined category,” Mann said. The evaluation of which jobs need to be in Idaho or Minnesota will start after the first of the year, he added.

With the merger the company now has about 325 radiologists, and about 75 percent of those are subspecialists, Mann said.

Subspecialists are trained in specific medical areas, such as pediatric or neurolgical care.

The two companies began discussing the acquisition earlier this year, said Les Mann, Virtual Radiologic’s vice president of sales and marketing.

The acquisition also makes vRad the largest teleradiology company in the country, Mann noted. Company radiologists will serve nearly 2,700 healthcare facilities across all 50 states and will probably read more than 7 million studies per year, a press release said. With the merger, the new company headcount will be more than 500.

NightHawk was launched in 2001 in Coeur d’Alene by Dr. Paul Berger and his brother Jon Berger and partner Chris Huber. In 2004 Summit Partners, a major venture capital partnership, invested $25 million in the company. It was able to sign numerous contracts for remote radiology by hiring doctors to read those tests across the globe, including Australia and Europe.
 




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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.




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