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Digital Medical Startup Babylon Eyes $3.5 Billion SPAC Deal

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Babylon, a medical startup that uses an app to connect patients with doctors, is nearing an agreement to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Bloomberg reported Friday (May 28).

Talks between Babylon and the SPAC — Alkuri Global Acquisition Corp. — are in advanced stages and a deal could be announced as early as next week, according to the news outlet. Sources told Bloomberg the deal could value Babylon in the neighborhood of $3.5 billion.

Alkuri has reportedly found investors to put up roughly $270 million in private investment in public equity to support the deal. The talks are ongoing and the deal could still not happen, sources told Bloomberg. Neither Babylon nor Alkuri would comment.

Alkuri is led by two former Groupon execs, Rich Williams and Steve Krenzer, and chaired by Sultan Almaadeed, former executive with the Qatar Investment Authority.

Founded in 2013, Babylon allows users to schedule a video chat with a doctor, learn more about their symptoms and confirm an appointment with specialists. It can also be used to get advice and treatment on a variety of conditions, everything from hair loss to more serious conditions like chronic kidney disease.

Babylon raised $550 million in 2019 that valued the startup at more than $2 billion. The company had previously explored a SPAC deal that fell apart earlier this year.

The company is making this venture at a time when telehealth is more popular than ever. As PYMNTS reported in March, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer than 40 percent of patients with a chronic condition used telehealth services. Since the pandemic began, that number has risen to more than 60 percent. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, telehealth use leapt up between 50 and 154 percent during the early days of the pandemic in Q1 and has persisted as an increasingly important factor for people seeking care, particularly to patients at risk of being cut off from essential health services.

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