Talkspace strikes US$1.4B merger deal

talkspace

Online therapy provider Talkspace has agreed to merge with Hudson Executive Investment Corp., the blank-check firm run by former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive Doug Braunstein.

The deal is worth $1.4 billion and will provide Talkspace with $250 million for investing in growth. Hudson is raising $300 million to support the deal from investors including Federated Hermes Kaufmann Funds, Jennison Associates and Woodline Partners LP.

The company will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol TALK.

About 80% of behavioral health visits can be done remotely, Talkspace co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Oren Frank said in an interview. The pandemic underscores the importance of this type of care, he said.

“If we talk about behavioral health, it was very broken before Covid, the level of access and the quality of the outcomes were to be honest subpar,” he said. “We always thought that virtual care is a particularly good fit for behavioral health care even before Covid.”

He will continue to lead the company with Co-founder Roni Frank while Braunstein will become board chairman.

Started in 2012, Talkspace has 46,000 active members, according to the statement. The company links patients with licensed therapists by video chat and text, allowing them to seek treatment from home.

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