Best Buy will acquire GreatCall, supplier of mobile healthcare devices and services, for $800 million, the electronics retailer announced Wednesday.
The acquisition is part of Best Buy's "2020 strategy," through which it intends to address "key human needs," with a focus on helping the elderly with digital tools.
GreatCall specializes in safety devices for senior citizens, including the Jitterbug line of mobile phones and the Lively wearable, which detects falls and also has a medical alert button. The company has almost 1 million subscribers and more than $300 million in annual revenue.
Best Buy had U.S. revenue of $8.41 billion in the first quarter of 2018, up 6.3% over the same period the year before. It will report second-quarter financial results later in August.
Best Buy expects the GreatCall deal to close in the third quarter of 2019. Through the acquisition, Best Buy will combine its merchandising, marketing, and other sales-related capabilities with GreatCall's healthcare "expertise," said Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly in a statement.
GreatCall is not alone in working with tech companies to make deeper inroads in healthcare. But the partnerships are usually with companies that build technology, not those that sell it.
Fitbit has partnered with Google to bring together clinical and patient-generated data in electronic health records.
Meanwhile, other retailers—mostly pharmacy chains—have been trying to get their consumers to use more healthcare services too. Walgreens recently launched a tool for people to find local providers, and CVS Health just launched a telehealth offering.