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UPDATE 1-Athenahealth CEO steps down; company considers sale

(Adds details on Bush, background)

June 6 (Reuters) - Healthcare software maker Athenahealth Inc said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Bush has stepped down and the company would explore options, including selling itself.

The company said it was in talks with third parties regarding a potential business combination and that the board had started looking for a replacement for Bush.

Elliott Management in May proposed an offer of $160 per share in cash for the company, valuing it at about $6.9 billion.

"It is easy for me to see that the very things that made me useful to the company ... are now exactly the things that are in the way," Bush said in a statement.

Bush, a nephew of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, founded Athenahealth in 1997.

Bush was in the news last week after he issued an apology following a report in U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper that he had assaulted his former wife 14 years ago.

The company also said former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, currently chairman, will become executive chairman. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)