Health  

Babylon wraps up acquisition of health kiosk company Higi

Digital health company Babylon has completed its acquisition of Higi, maker of health-checking kiosks found in grocery stores and pharmacies. 

The deal comes after the digital health giant became a strategic investor in Higi starting in May 2020, when Higi announced a $30 million round and began integrating Babylon’s symptom-checking and remote-care tech into its stations.

According to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Babylon acquired the remaining equity in Higi for about $4.9 million in cash, 3.9 million in Babylon Class A ordinary shares and 2 million in restricted stock units.

“Our commitment has always been to make it easy and convenient for everyone to be their healthiest,” Jeff Bennett, Higi’s CEO, said in a statement. “Higi has partnered with healthcare leaders across retailers, health plans, providers and NGOs to meet consumers where they are in their healthcare journey and provide equitable access to insights and navigation to products and services to improve their health.

“As one company, we will deliver so much more, and alongside Babylon we are excited to continue our work to bring affordable, accessible healthcare to all.”

WHY IT MATTERS

Babylon is pitching the deal as a way to expand its digital health offerings to more people in the U.S., particularly those with chronic conditions who live in rural areas.

According to the CDC, rural Americans are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, accidental injury, COPD and stroke compared with those in urban areas. And a Chartis Group report from last year found that the COVID-19 pandemic further stressed the rural healthcare system, counting 453 hospitals vulnerable to closure. 

“Our mission is to make quality healthcare accessible and affordable for every person, irrespective of the lottery of the geographic location, economic status or social hierarchy in which they find themselves,” Dr. Ali Parsa, CEO of Babylon, said in a statement.

“Our partnership with Higi will help us extend the range and reach of our services across the United States. We have known Higi’s executives, Board and investors for a long time and share common values with them. I am humbled that they will now all become shareholders of Babylon and part of our joint mission to re-engineer a better model of care for all.”

THE LARGER TREND

Babylon announced plans in June last year to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, a popular method of exit for digital health startups. The company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in October. 

While the company was founded in the U.K., it has launched initiatives internationally. Last year, it revealed an AI-enabled triage tool in Rwanda and expanded its medical services in the country to people without cell phones. 

In the third quarter, Babylon reported 371% year-over-year revenue growth to $74.5 million, but a net loss of $66 million, up from $38 million in 2020’s Q3. 

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