Time for WebMD and Google to panic?

This is one of the most interesting M&A bits to hit my inbox in a long time: Health-specific search engine Healia has just announced a takeover by Des Moines, Iowa-based publishing company Meredith Corp.

That’s right, the publisher of such titles as Fitness, Ladies’ Home Journal, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens and Successful Farming has bought itself a healthcare search engine. I bet Wall Street didn’t see that one coming, and I wonder if they’re sweating over at WebMD, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

By the way, Dr. Tom Eng, Healia’s president and founder, says that Healia is hiring a CTO and Web designers at company headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., and VPs for online marketing and advertising sales to work in New York, where Meredith has a large presence. Eng is keeping his job.