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Telehealth startup Babylon to go public via $4.2 billion SPAC deal

Jun 3, 2021

By Krystal Hu and Sohini Podder

(Reuters) -British online health startup Babylon Health said on Thursday it has agreed to go public in the United States through a merger with a blank-check firm led by former Groupon chief Rich Williams, at a pro-forma equity valuation of $4.2 billion.

The deal with Alkuri Global Acquisition Corp will provide up to $575 million in gross proceeds to Babylon, including $230 million private placement from investors such as AMF Pensionsförsäkring and Palantir Technologies Inc.

Founded in 2013, Babylon provides video medical appointments and AI-powered diagnoses. It has partnered with the UK’s National Health Service and U.S. hospitals such as Mount Sinai Health Partners as it pushes for global expansion.

“We’re solving a fundamental problem in the healthcare system all over the world – how to balance accessibility, quality and affordability,” said Ali Parsa, founder and chief executive at Babylon. “We managed to achieve it in the UK and brought it to countries including Rwanda in Africa, the United States and Canada.”

Babylon said it now covers 24 million patients around the world. It reported $79 million in revenue in 2020, a 394% year-over-year increase, and it expects that to swell to $321 million this year.

The company was last valued at $2 billion during a fundraising round in 2019, counting investors including Munich Re Ventures and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund as backers.

Babylon will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “BBLN” after the deal is closed by year-end.

(Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu in New YorkEditing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Matthew Lewis)