Best Buy acquires aging in place vendor for $800 million

Best Buy announced that it has acquired GreatCall for $800. GreatCall is an old guard digital health company that started out making smartphones for seniors in 2006 but now offers a suite of connected safety products and services for aging in place individuals.  

The acquisition comes as retail giants are increasingly active in healthcare. Best Buy rival WalMart, for instance, in June filed a patent to protect a method for accessing patient data from EHRs and wearables via blockchain. And word got out last week that Amazon is building primary care clinics for its employees in Seattle.

GreatCall was previously acquired in June 2017 by private equity firm GTCR for an undisclosed amount. GTCR is selling the company, which has nearly a million paying subscribers, to Minneapolis-based Best Buy.

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly said the companies will combine merchandising, marketing, sales, and services with GreatCall’s aging in place tools.

“We know technology can improve the quality of life of the aging population and those who care for them,” Joly said in a statement.

The companies added that the acquisition is part of a larger strategy by Best Buy to invest in technology for the ever-widening over-65 market through 2020.

GreatCall itself acquired several companies prior to its own acquisition last year, giving it a broad portfolio that includes traditional PERS, mobile PERS, call centers, and smartphones for seniors.

The company acquired Healthsense, a Minnesota-based remote monitoring company, in 2016 and acquired the assets of aging in place company Lively the year before that. Years prior to that, it acquired a smaller company called MobiWatch.

“Since the launch of GreatCall, we’ve focused on providing technology and services to the aging population, giving them and their families the peace of mind that comes with technology and support to help keep them safe and improve their lives,” David Inns, who will stay on as CEO of GreatCall, said in a statement. “By joining forces, we can do even more for this population, combining our products, services and expertise with Best Buy’s customer focus and scale to expand our reach.”

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