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Best Buy acquires Jitterbug maker for $800M

Best Buy is making a big acquisition that will give it even stronger footing in the healthcare segment.

On Wednesday, the consumer electronics giant announced that it is acquiring GreatCall for $800 million in cash. GreatCall is a provider of emergency response devices for the aging. The company has more than 900,000 paying subscribers who use GreatCall’s mobile products, as well as a range of services, including a one-touch service that connects users to trained, U.S.-based agents, caregivers, and emergency personnel, among other options.

GreatCall will maintain its San Diego headquarters, as well as its Care Centers in Carlsbad, California, and Reno, Nevada. David Inns, who has been with GreatCall since its formation in 2006, will remain as CEO, according to Best Buy.

“We know technology can improve the quality of life of the aging population and those who care for them,” said Hubert Joly, chairman and CEO of Best Buy. “Now, we have a great opportunity to serve the needs of these customers by combining GreatCall’s expertise with Best Buy’s unique merchandising, marketing, sales and services capabilities.”

While the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, it is expected to close by the end of Best Buy’s fiscal 2019 third quarter.

“We are excited to partner with Best Buy to serve the active aging population on a bigger scale. GreatCall is already a growing, profitable business with annual revenue in excess of $300 million,” Inns reported. “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 meaningfully expand our reach.”

This is Best Buy’s latest move to deepen its presence in the healthcare segment. The retailer currently sells health- and wellness-related products, and the company has recently been investing in health-related initiatives focused on the aging population.

In a move that accompanied its healthcare buildup, Best Buy in May brought aboard CVS Health digital veteran Brian Tilzer as its chief digital officer.

Additionally, in September, Best Buy revealed that it is piloting a new service, Assured Living, that uses technology to help adult children remotely check in on the health and safety of their aging parents. Now available in 21 major metro markets, this pilot aims to “create peace of mind for the children while allowing the parents to live and thrive independently,” the company stated.

The acquisition of GreatCall will augment Best Buy’s existing efforts in the health space, help bring compelling solutions to more customers, and fuel Best Buy’s growth in the consumer and commercial markets, the company reported.

“We look forward to working closely with David and his management team and are excited by the opportunities we have in the health space and the strengths we can bring to bear in this area, especially our experience with technology and serving customers in their home,” Joly said.

The acquisition also coincides with the company’s “Best Buy 2020” strategy, which is focused on enriching lives through technology that addresses key human needs, according to Best Buy.
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