Forty-five 2016 digital health mergers and acquisitions

By MHN Staff
04:06 pm

This story has been updated to include several acquisitions that were omitted accidentally, as well as new ones that have broken since it was originally published.

Just like last year, 2016 ended up being a big year for acquisitions. With 45 acquisitions, that beats out 2015's total of 36, and many were from high-profile, attention-grabbing companies such as Google, Fitbit and Philips. 

In the first half of 2016, MobiHealthNews tracked 17 acquisitions. The activity kept up into the third quarter with 15 acquisitions and one merger. The fourth quarter brought 13 more acquisitions. We’ve organized the 14 deals with disclosed terms by size, and the undisclosed deals in chronological order.

The largest deal of the year happened in July, when Imprivata, the Lexington, Massachusetts-based developer of health IT security tools, agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of Thoma Bravo, a San Francisco private equity firm. The deal is valued at approximately $544 million. Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of record will receive $19.25 in cash per share of Imprivata common stock - a 33 percent premium to Imprivata’s last closing stock price of $14.50.

The next largest deal was Evolent Health's acquisition of Valence Health for $219.4 million in October. Both companies are tech-enabled service companies that promote value-based care. Shortly before the deal close, Valence Health signed a large contract with Indiana Medicaid provider MDWise, which serves 400,000 members. CEO Frank Williams said in a call to investors that the Valence acquisition would add one million lives across 12 operating partners for Evolent Health in 2017.

Nokia Technologies acquired French connected health device maker Withings for $191 million (170 million euros) in April. Withings, which makes smartphone-connected weight scales, blood pressure cuffs, activity trackers, and, recently, thermometers, had raised $34 million to date, with the latest being a $30 million round in 2013.

Nokia had been searching for a new focus area since it sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft. In March, Nokia Technology President Ramzi Haidamus suggested that future could lie with digital health. 

"We’re also looking at another area where we have not launched any products -- digital health," he told Fortune at the time. "Digital health is something that comes very natural to Nokia... A lot of research is happening right now in the field of digital health.

In October, Wolters Kluwer health, owner of physician-facing mobile products UpToDate and Lexicomp, acquired Emmi Solutions, a patient engagement software company, for $170 million. The acquisition was notable because it was the first patient-engagement-focused acquisition for Wolters Kluwer. Previous M&A in the space has revolved around doctor-facing tools like UpToDate, Lexicomp, and drug information app Medi-Span.

In April, San Francisco-based pet fitness tracking company Whistle was acquired by Mars Petcare, maker of pet food brands like Iams, Pedigree, and Whiskas. The deal was close to $117 million, according to some reports. Mars Petcare is a subsidiary of Mars, a candy maker that sells 29 brands of candy including M&Ms, Dove, Snickers, and Twix. Whistle raised $21 million. The company’s investors included DCM Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, Melo7 Tech Partners, Qualcomm, and Queensbridge Venture Partners. The company developed a smart collar that people can use to track their dog’s location and activity. Data from the collar is sent to a companion app that helps users pinpoint their dog’s location. The app also shows users a history of the dog’s activity and sleep patterns.

In September, iHealth Labs, the connected device subsidiary of Andon Health with offices in Paris and Mountain View, California, acquired Bordeaux, France-based eDevice for $106 million (98.33 million euros). eDevice is a longtime European provider of back-end infrastructure that connects remote monitoring devices to hospitals and healthcare providers. iHealth is one of the earliest players in the smartphone-connected health device space. It offers a variety of weight scales, activity trackers, blood pressure monitors, and glucometers in the US, Europe, and China. Recently the company has shifted from a primarily direct-to-consumer focus toward a business-to-business market through products like iHealth Connect, its enterprise health management system, which it announced at HIMSS this year. The system includes iHealth Gateway, a secure hub for collecting data from various iHealth devices in the home as well as software systems for diabetes management, outpatient care, and population health. Acquiring eDevice seems like another step along this path. eDevice's technology will help iHealth to transfer data from its various devices to healthcare providers. 

In February Boston-based FitnessKeeper, maker of the Runkeeper app, announced an agreement to be acquired by Japanese apparel company Asics for $85 million. The shoemaker acquired Runkeeper both for its potential as a one-to-one marketing channel and for the platform itself, which they intend to keep intact. "From the end-user standpoint, not much will change," FitnessKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs wrote in a blog post. "Not only will the Runkeeper product carry on, but we will be able to move even faster. We will be able to pursue the vision we’ve set out to pursue all along, with a partner that can bring many resources to bear that we couldn’t fathom having access to on our own." Runkeeper had raised about $11.5 million over the years.

In April, electronics company Logitech acquired wireless earbud company Jaybird for $50 million in cash. In addition to the suite of sporty wireless buds that Jaybird sells, the company also offered a wristworn activity tracker, called Reign, but that product line was not the focus for the acquisition.

At the beginning of December, in an acquisition that shook the wearable world, Fitbit acquired many of the assets of Pebble, including software IP and personnel. Though the price has not been officially disclosed, many outlets reported a price between $34 and $40 million citing insider sources. The acquisition will mean the end of new Pebble devices, though Fitbit wants to support existing devices for a while, at least.

In December, BioTelemetry, formerly known as CardioNet, acquired TelCare, a diabetes management technology company with the distinction of having had the first FDA-cleared, cellular-connected glucometer. BioTelemetry paid $7 million in cash with the potential for additional performance-based earn-outs of up to $5 million, also in cash. Both BioTelemetry and TelCare are veterans of the early days of the mobile health space.

In July, Nashville-based employee wellness company Healthways agreed to sell its population health business to Atlanta-based Sharecare. In an interview with MobiHealthNews, Sharecare CEO Jeff Arnold called it "by far our biggest acquisition." Sharecare will give Healthways $30 million in common stock in exchange for the population health business, which includes 1,700 employees and, according to Arnold, does about $259 million annually in revenue. Healthways will also pay Sharecare $25 million upfront to fund an expected negative cash flow. If losses exceed $25 million, Sharecare can also reduce the stock payment to as little as $10 million. 

In February, concierge doctor service One Medical Group acquired nutrition coaching app maker Rise for a reported $20 million. Rise, founded in 2013, has been something of a rising star in the nutrition coaching app space, with $3.3 million in funding and a star-studded advisor panel including Harvard’s Dr. Russ Phillips, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta (who is also Rise Labs cofounder Suneel Gupta's brother), P90X founder Tony Horton, OkCupid founder Sam Yagan, and Facebook growth lead Alex Schultz. The startup offers a nutrition coaching system to help users lose weight and make positive lifestyle choices. Users are prompted to take a picture of their food so the coach, a nutrition expert, can see what they are eating and provide assistance based on this information. The coach also provides daily feedback and tips to stay healthy. Rise says one-on-one nutrition coaching normally costs over $300 per month, but prices for the Rise system can total around $60 a month at the low end.

In September, HMS Holdings, which owns a number of subsidiaries providing software tools for payers, acquired Essette, a web-based care management platform which helps payers and providers with population health management and patient engagement. The acquisition was a cash deal and the purchase price was $20 million. Essette works with risk-bearing provider organizations including managed care organizations and care delivery organizations. Its software helps care teams coordinate, helps organizations manage multiple data repositories, and also improves patient-doctor communication. 

In July, Nashville-based employee wellness company Healthways divested itself from MeYou Health, its Boston-based innovation and digital health subsidiary. Rick Lee, a serial entrepreneur who sold early digital wellness platform Healthrageous to Humana in 2013, led a group of investors, including Ballast Point Ventures, Blue Shield of California, and several prominent individual investors, in an $11 million buyout of the company. Lee will serve as CEO of the newly independent MeYou Health.

Mattel, a toy manufacturing giant based in Segundo, California, acquired San Francisco-based Sproutling, which has developed a health sensing wearable device for babies. Sproutling had raised at least $6.5 million. Its most recent round was disclosed in an SEC filing last year. The company’s investors included First Round Capital, Forerunner Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Accelerator Ventures, Lemnos Labs, BoxGroup, and Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning. The company will still sell its offering under the Sproutling brand, but the team at Sproutling will also work with Mattel to design and develop new products under Mattel’s brand.

Getting into the 28 deals with undisclosed terms, Greyhealth group (ghg), a healthcare-focused agency owned by WPP that was a founding partner of Text4Baby and an early IBM Watson partner, acquired The Lathe, a health app design and development firm, in February. The Lathe was founded in 2003 and has worked with a number of healthcare companies to create apps and mobile responsive websites. They build apps for chronic disease management, occasional therapies, medical devices, and over the counter products. On their website, they tout an app for multiple sclerosis patients, an iPad app for asthma and allergy sufferers, and a responsive website, built for Valeant Pharmaceuticals, for parents of children with eczema. One of the firm's selling points is an understanding of pharma marketing regulations.

Framingham, Massachusetts-based employee wellness and engagement company Virgin Pulse acquired two employee wellness companies: Providence, Rhode Island-based ShapeUp and Australia-based Global Corporate Challenge (GCC). ShapeUp developed a social wellness program for companies and engages employees through team workout challenges. ShapeUp has been in operation for about 10 years, raised at least $15.5 million. The program also tracks team progress to encourage better habits, offers health coaching in nutrition and exercise, and pulls in data from various consumer fitness devices. Existing investors include Cue Ball Capital and Excel Venture Management. GCC, which has been in operation for about 11 years, also creates challenges for employees, but on a larger scale. For a period of 100 days each year, employees of any GCC customer around the world can compete in GCC challenges in teams of seven. For the rest of the year, employees can use GCC’s online platform for additional motivation and health education. The company’s program has reached nearly 2 million employees and 4,700 organizations across 185 countries, the company says.

Chicago-based Huron Consulting Group, a global consulting firm with a significant healthcare business, acquired mobile health software company MyRounding in February for an unidsclosed amount. HCG will make MyRounding part of its healthcare group and make its software available to hospital clients. Denver, Colorado-based MyRounding was founded in 2012. The company's product is an iPad and web app that supports doctors, nurses, and other hospital professionals that do rounds. By doing rounds with a tablet, and digitally collecting their feedback on how patients are faring, hospitals can track patients more consistently and more quickly respond to their needs and requests. The cloud-based platform can also feed data into a hospital's electronic health record.

MobiHealthNews broke the news in March that Palo Alto-based health tech company HealthTap had quietly acquired Docphin, a startup that makes it easier for physicians to find and read medical research, for an undisclosed sum. Docphin was a member of Rock Health's second accelerator class back in 2012 as well as StartUp Health's second class of startups later that same year. The company, which was founded in 2010, never publicly announced a round of funding but it appears to have raised about $1.6 million mostly in its early years. Romulus Capital was among its backers. Interestingly, Docphin's former CEO and Co-Founder Sachin Nanavati is part of the health team at Facebook, according to his LinkedIn profile. He made the move in February.

Also in March, Scrypt, a document management company, acquired physician communication platform DocbookMD. Both companies are based in Austin, Texas. DocbookMD raised a seed round of $2.2 million back in early 2012. DocbookMD was founded by husband and wife practicing physicians: Dr. Tim Gueramy, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Trace Haas, a family physician. The company’s unified comms offering, available via app or web, was used by more than 30,000 medical professionals across 42 states at the time of the acquisition. Physicians can use the system to exchange texts, photos, charts, x-rays and similar information.

Another deal for that month was Mad*Pow, a design agency with a specialization in healthcare design announced an agreement to acquire gamified exercise app HotSeat from context, the communications consulting firm owned by app creator Fran Melmed. The acquisition price was undisclosed but the agency was one of the creators of the app. The app helped office workers interject short bursts of physical activity into their days, and support each other socially in doing so. It was sold to companies with 500 or more employees. With HotSeat, employees take two-minute breaks throughout the day for a variety of physical activities from simple ones like walking to sillier ones like particular dances (in 2012, the game Melmed showed MobiHealthNews was "Gangham Style"). Employees choose their own activities, but they can also challenge coworkers. The app also syncs with users' calendars to plan the break around their schedules.

In May, Fitbit acquired the assets of smart payment company Coin’s wearable payments platform, including related intellectual property. Fitbit also hired key personnel from the Coin wearable payments platform team. The acquisition will allow Fitbit to integrate a near-field communications (NFC) payment feature into future Fitbit devices, though the company said there are no plans to add these features into any products launched in 2016.

Also that month, Los Angeles-based Canary Health, a startup that uses digital health tools to help populations prevent and manage chronic diseases, acquired stress management app company bLife for an undisclosed amount. Canary Health sells its disease-management programs to hospitals and health systems, whereas bLife was a direct-to-consumer app company that created direct-to-consumer stress management apps as well as apps for clients including the Oprah Winfrey Network, Deepak Chopra, and the Huffington Post.

Brecksville, Ohio-based healthcare services company MedData (not to be confused with Medidata) acquired Columbus, Ohio-based patient engagement company Duet Health in May. MedData offers providers patient communication tools, revenue cycle management software, as well as consulting and analytics services for billing and coding. The company serves more than 5,000 physicians and has seven offices across the US. Duet Health, which was founded in 2009, offered a white-label patient engagement suite for its clients that allows providers to send secure video, text, and image messages, store images, and view on-call schedules. Some of the company’s clients included OhioHealth, Cardinal Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Autism Speaks, and the CDC.

In June, Poland-based DocPlanner announced that it had merged with its Barcelona, Spain-based competitor Doctoralia. DocPlanner said prior to the merger it attracted 8 million unique users each month, with 90 percent coming from Europe. While Europe is clearly its strongest market, the company said it was in 25 countries last year, including some in Asia and South America. Doctoralia, meanwhile, had more than 9 million unique users every month, with traffic mostly coming from Spain, Brazil and Mexico. It's active in 20 countries though.

In July, Amsterdam-based Royal Philips announced that it acquired Wellcentive, an Atlanta, Georgia-based population health management software company, for an undisclosed amount. Once the acquisition is complete, Wellcentive and its employees will become part of Philips’ Population Health Management business group. Under that sector, Philips currently offers enterprise telehealth, home monitoring, personal emergency response systems, and personal health services that address multiple groups in the population from prevention to ambulatory care to high-risk patients. 

Silver Spring, Maryland-based mental health care management company Mindoula Health acquired Care at Hand, a Boston-based healthcare analytics company that offers a mobile-based early warning system for home caregivers, for an undisclosed amount. Care at Hand has raised just shy of $2 million in seed funding, including small equity investments from an accelerator and a seed fund: StartUp Health, where Care at Hand participated in one of the first classes co-sponsored by GE; and Rock Health, which chose Care at Hand for its second-ever class back in 2011. Care at Hand's offering helps home care managers identify and head off the risk factors that presage hospital readmission using a combination of surveys delivered to caregivers via mobile devices and data analysis. 

Washington state-based Providence St. Joseph Health acquired Medicast in July. "I’m thrilled to announce that Medicast has been acquired by Providence, and that we will be joining the system’s Strategy & Innovation group," the founding team wrote in a Medium post.

"We’re super excited about the value that Providence sees in our technology and our team, and we intend to continue building great new features into our platform. As Providence continues to move healthcare into the digital age, the Medicast platform will be a key component of a wider strategy to ensure that more patients can have access to convenient, compassionate care delivered both in-person and virtually."

According to the Medium post, Medicast started out with a direct-to-consumer mindset, but later started working with providers -- including its eventual acquirer Providence St. Joseph, which has been a customer of Medicast for about 18 months. 

In July, an undisclosed company acquired San Mateo, California-based Gamgee, a digital health startup that has done business as 22otters. Both the Gamgee and 22otters website inform visitors about the acquisition but reveal no additional details. 

In August, athenahealth, a provider of cloud-based EHR, practice management software and population health services, acquired Austin-based care coordination platform Patient IO (officially known as Filament Labs), which allows patients to access their care plan through a series of actionable daily tasks on a mobile or web-based application. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Patient IO will form the basis for AthenaHealth’s new patient-facing application, AthenaWell. Patients can use Patient IO to play more engaged, ongoing role in their own care, including medication management to recording self-reported data or learning more about their health. This builds on AthenaHealth’s shift towards mobile – the company acquired Epocrates in 2013. 

Also in August, Pennsylvania-based CRF Health, provider of electronic clinical outcome assessment solutions (eCOA) for clinical trials, acquired pioneering digital health company Entra Health for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition will expand CRF’s offerings into the mobile and wireless medical device sector, helping to establish the global company’s network of solutions to collect, manage and analyze biometric and clinical trial data. The acquisition of San Diego, California-based Entra Health formalizes an existing relationship, representatives for CRFs said in a statement. Entra is perhaps best known for inking a deal with Nokia in early 2010 that put an app in Nokia's appstore that connected early smartphones to Entra's Bluetooth-connected glucose meter. 

An attention-grabbing deal was Apple’s acquisition of health data-focused startup Gliimpse. The amount of the acquisition was undisclosed. Inspired by founder Anil Sethi's experiences with his sister's cancer, Gliimpse has a mission to collect the "bread crumbs of health data" consumers create and bring them all together in one platform. By moving that process into the hands of patients, the company argues on its website, it can tackle problems that exist in promoting interoperability on the back-end.

Ever since Apple launched its HealthKit framework in mid-2014, the company has seen enabling health data sharing as its entry point into healthcare, and Gliimpse fits right into those plans. Apple also has a history of working with EHRs, most notably Epic, to integrate HealthKit data. Gliimpse's code could help Apple products to more easily interact with hospital systems, or it could bolster safety and security for the company, as those are also major selling points of Gliimpse. 

In another August acquisition (and one that was noteworthy for the simple aspect that the purchaser was previously outside of the digital health game), San Francisco-based Mapbox, an open-source mapping platform, acquired fitness-tracking app Human, which allows users to track activity all day and aggregates the data anonymously to create information about cities. Human is a passive app with a simple goal: move every day for 30 minutes or more, dubbed the “Daily 30.” Instead of complex workout-setting and data entry every time you use it, Human allows users to just set the app up and it gets to work, automatically tracking biking, walking, running or anything else that burns calories. It will send an optional notification if the user meets the Daily 30. The app is available on iOS and Android, and integrates with HealthKit. 

September brought another acquisition for Sharecare, it announced it would buy virtual reality company BioLucid for an undisclosed amount. BioLucid's technology, which uses virtual tours of the body to educate patients, will be incorporated into Sharecare's growing stable of patient engagement tools, but the company will also continue to operate out of its Sarasota, Florida office under the name "Sharecare Reality Lab.”  

This marks Sharecare's 11th acquisition, and those acquisitions are strategically building toward a comprehensive patient engagement engine, Arnold told MobiHealthNews in an interview a few months ago.

"Our vision is we want to be the only health app on your phone. The same way you don’t have 12 apps to manage your money, you’re not going to have 12 apps to manage your health," Arnold said at the time. "We have made 10 acquisitions over the last several years putting together what we think the key pieces are that are going to enable you to manage all your health and wellness in one place."   

In an display of what some VCs say is an example of what’s to come in the future of digital health acquisitions, wherein two big, successful companies merge their complementary capabilities, two diabetes management companies merged in September. Mountain View, California-based Glooko and Gothenburg, Sweden-based Diasend, will merge into a unified company, leveraging the global capabilities of Diasend and the user-friendly platform of Glooko. The joint solution, which will operate under the Glooko name, will now serve 4,000 diabetes clinics in 23 countries across 15 languages. The joint platform downloads data from more than 160 different devices, including glucose meters, insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors and activity trackers, accounting for 95 percent of diabetes devices used worldwide.

“Glooko and Diasend are the dominant players in their respective markets. Due to the differences in our products (and competition in general) both companies have had significant demand from the opposite market (Glooko from EU, Diasend in USA),” Vikram Singh, Glooko’s product analytics and marketing manager said in an email to MobiHealthNews. “Rather than expand each company’s international presence, it made more sense to merge.” 

Nashville, Tennessee-based Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), which operates 169 hospitals and 116 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states and the United Kingdom, announced it will purchase clinical workflow and team communication app maker Mobile Heartbeat. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The company’s technology, Clinical Urgent Response (CURE) works through an app on either an iPhone or Android that can be used by caregivers inside and outside the hospital with an integrated user experience, so nurses and physicians can hand off tasks to one another. Caregivers can text, call, review patient information, receive lab alerts and respond to nurse calls and more so long as they have the app. The app works to consolidate clinical communications, including alarms and notifications, patient information and lab data, secure texting, voice and photography. The acquisition follows a pilot study HCA ran with Mobile Heartbeat using CURE for its iMobile Project, an initiative to implement smartphone-based critical care team communication. HCA rolled out the initiative last year, and staff quickly adopted the technology.

Georgia-based Salus Telehealth acquired Chicago-based video visit provider VideoMedicine in September. The terms of the acquisition were undisclosed. The companies avowed in a statement that “this merger has uniquely positioned Salus Telehealth, Inc. to offer a true end-to-end telemedicine solution that will reduce the overall cost of healthcare as well as significantly improve overall health outcomes.”

RespondWell, a digital health company focused on gamified home-based physical therapy tools, was acquired in October by Zimmer Biomet Holdings, a musculoskeletal healthcare-focused medical device company, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition will build out Zimmer's recently announced "Signature Solutions" offering by adding at-home telerehabilitation. Zimmer will apparently keep the company's Therapy@Home offering more or less intact as part of its Signature Solutions offering.

In November, Vital Images, a diagnostic imaging company based in Minneapolis, acquired Karos Health, a Waterloo, Ontario-based maker of clinical information systems, including a patient-facing clinical communication app called Rialto. The amount of the acquisition was undisclosed. Founded in 2004, Karos had two main products: Rialto, a platform designed to facilitate the exchange of clinical imagery and documents between different healthcare systems, which also allows the patient to easily access lab results and images; and EasyViz, a mobile platform for displaying diagnostic imagery. EasyViz was likely the draw for Vital Images, which describes itself as a "provider of diagnostic imaging and enterprise informatics solutions."

Chicago-based ContextMedia: Health, which makes a healthcare decision-making platform, acquired point-of-care patient education company AccentHealth in November. The amount of acquisition was undisclosed, but ContextMedia: Health did say it will be an all-cash transaction. With the acquisition of AccentHealth, ContextMedia: Health will reach 55,000 healthcare locations and power 500 million health consultations in US doctor offices each year, which the company says puts them on track to be in 70 percent of all healthcare practices in the country by 2020.

Zipongo, a San Francisco-based digital nutrition platform, acquired FillMyFork, an employee-facing rewards app that promotes healthy eating, at the end of November. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. FillMyFork, which offered a points-based incentive program that rewards users for buying healthier foods, fits in well with Zipongo's growing "food benefit management" platform, which consists of a number of different apps designed to change people's behavior around nutrition by changing their environment.

Exco InTouch, a Nottingham, England-based clinical trial technology vendor responsible for powering early, influential mobile-enabled trials, was acquired in December by ERT, a 45-year-old global clinical trial services company, for an undisclosed amount. While both companies provide technology and services to support clinical trials, their focus areas are different, with ERT focusing on electronic clinical outcome assessments (eCOA) and Exco focusing on patient engagement and data collection via mobile apps. 

Peak, the London-based brain training app maker, was acquired by Hachette Livre, a Vanves, France-based subsidiary of book publisher Lagardére SCA. Hachette Livre purchased a majority stake in the company, which is officially named Brainbow. The price was not disclosed.

San Diego-based GreatCall, an aging-in-place tech company that makes both phones for seniors and mPERS, acquired Healthsense, a Minnesota-based remote monitoring company. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.


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