Best Buy acquires aging in place tech company GreatCall for $800M

By Jonah Comstock
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San Diego-based GreatCall — an old guard digital health company which started out making smartphones for seniors in 2006 but now offers a suite of connected safety products and services for aging in place individuals — has been acquired by retail chain Best Buy for $800 million.

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.

“We know technology can improve the quality of life of the aging population and those who care for them,” Hubert Joly, chairman and CEO of Best Buy, said in a statement. “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 [CEO] David [Inns] 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.”

According to a press release, 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 the very best technology and services to the aging population, giving them and their families the peace of mind that comes with the right 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. “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. 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.”