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8.16.18 – SSI – SSI Staff

Privately-held GreatCall focuses on personal emergency response services (PERS) for senior citizens and has over 900,000 paying subscribers.

Best Buy to Acquire PERS Company GreatCall for $800M

SAN DIEGO — GreatCall, a provider of mobile phone and connected health services to seniors, is being acquired by Best Buy for $800 million in cash.

The deal, marking the second time that GreatCall has changed ownership in the last 14 months, furthers the nation’s top electronics retailer’s strategy of selling more health and wellness products. The Richfield, Minn.-based chain is focusing on technology and services targeting an aging population.

There are 50 million Americans over age 65, a number that is expected to increase by more than 50% within the next 20 years, according to Best Buy.

“We know technology can improve the quality of life of the aging population and those who care for them,” states Hubert Joly, chairman and CEO of Best Buy. “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.”The company says it currently has over 900,000 paying subscribers.

GreatCall will maintain its San Diegreatcallgo headquarters, as well as its call centers in Carlsbad, Calif., and Reno, Nev. David Inns will continue as CEO. The company employs about 1,000 workers, most of them in its two call centers.

“GreatCall is already a growing, profitable business with annual revenue in excess of $300 million,” Inns comments in a statement. “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.”

Founded in 2006, GreatCall has around 900,000 subscribers nationwide for its mobile services tailored for the elderly and their family caregivers, including Jitterbug mobile phones with big buttons for easy dialing.

In June 2017, GreatCall was acquired by Chicago private equity firm GTCR for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the end of October. Best Buy expects the acquisition will have minimal impact on earnings in fiscal 2019 and 2020, but is expected to add to profit thereafter.