Best Buy to Acquire Senior-Focused Tech Company GreatCall for $800 Million

In the company’s latest business move focused on the aging population of the United States, technology retail giant Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) has agreed to acquire GreatCall for $800 million in cash. GreatCall has developed and sells senior-friendly smartphones, smartwatches, medical alert devices and other technology.

“[Best Buy] has recently been investing in health-related initiatives focused on the aging population that have included the participation of several of the nation’s leading health care providers and insurers,” the company stated in a press release issued Wednesday. “The acquisition of GreatCall will augment Best Buy’s existing efforts in the health space, help bring compelling solutions to more customers, and help fuel Best Buy’s further growth in the consumer and commercial markets.”

One such initiative is Best Buy’s “Assured Living” program, announced in the fall of 2017. In this program, a consumer purchases a suite of products that can support aging in place, such as motion sensors for beds and doors, Wi-Fi enabled doorbell cameras, and smart thermostats that can pair with smartphones. Geek Squad workers install the devices in a customer’s home.

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In the Denver area, the technology is used in tandem with a wellness coach sponsored by insurer UnitedHealthcare.

The GreatCall deal won’t close for several weeks, but Best Buy is interested in continuing GreatCall’s existing sales channels, which include selling directly to consumers as well as to businesses, Best Buy Senior Communications Director Jeff Shelman told Senior Housing News in an email.

Both independent living and assisted living providers are target customers on the B2B side, GreatCall CEO and President David Inns told Senior Housing News in 2015.

GreatCall touts how monitoring products can help health care providers such as assisted living communities prevent hospitalizations and increase seniors’ independence.

Currently, GreatCall has annual revenue in excess of $300 million. It was formed in 2006 and was acquired last year by private equity firm GTCR. GreatCall has grown in recent years through acquiring some other technology companies serving the senior living space, including Lively and Healthsense.

“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, in Wednesday’s press release. “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. 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.”

GreatCall will maintain its current headquarters in San Diego, and Inns will stay on as CEO.

Best Buy expects the acquisition to be accretive to earnings by fiscal year 2021.

Written by Tim Mullaney

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