Two of the biggest disclosed acquisitions this year were Nokia's $191 million acquisition of Withings and iHealth's $100 million acquisition of eDevice. There are some similarities in those two deals, which both happened in Europe and both seem to catapult consumer-facing device companies into the B2B world and the hospital space. But there are some differences too: One represents an outside tech firm buying its way into the market, while the other is a competitive consolidation, two young companies with complementary assets taking on the market together.
We spoke with the heads of Withings and Nokia back in April when that acquisition went down. This week we spoke with big names at iHealth and eDevice to hear their take on their latest deal.
"We think that this market is going toward consolidation," eDevice cofounder Marc Berrebi told MobiHealthNews. "There’s new players coming around and we are in a very strong position, and iHealth also is in a very strong position with a different positioning so we thought the sum of what we have and what iHealth has allows us to become the real global leader in the connected care market."
iHealth CFO Lex Wu added that the acquisition of eDevice is part of a shift on iHealth's part toward B2B (a larger trend we've highlighted recently).
"We have figured out that there’s a lot of B2B opportunities and markets," he said. "Our advantage is we have the in-house and software engineers to develop platforms for professional institutions or doctors. What we would like to combine is a company like eDevice that has strong experience in the field, who has a huge client portfolio that can be beneficial for both of us. We are making medical equipment and eDevice is very good at data transfer and connected technology. Together, we will be able to respond to the current demand in the market on the B2B side."
The acquisition is also partly about broadening both companies' geographic reach. It brings eDevice more securely into the American market and opens up iHealth to a range of new clients in Europe. Ultimately, both companies will continue to operate much as they did before, but will take advantage of synergies to expand faster and reduce costs.
"In this acquisition we don’t see an absorption of a company," Wu said. "This is not 'Who’s whose parent company?' We are partners. On the clinician side Marc and Stephane are doing a great job, on the iHealth side we are doing great with what we are doing now. It’s not like one side is going to interfere with the other. There’s a very big opportunity with the potential synergy we can have with both side’s products."