Branson's Virgin Pulse to acquire patient engagement company Welltok

Virgin Pulse, the employer wellness arm of Richard Branson’s company Virgin Group, plans to acquire patient engagement company Welltok for an undisclosed amount.

By snapping up Denver-based Welltok, Virgin Pulse will expand its communication capabilities and accelerate its ability to serve substantially more customers and patients across the full healthcare continuum – employers, health systems, health plans and pharmacies/pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), according to company executives.

Virgin Pulse provides tech-enabled health and wellbeing solutions focused on driving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs for its clients and members. It has more than 4,000 clients across 190 countries, including Visa, ExxonMobil and St. Joseph Health.

Three years ago, private equity firm Marlin Equity Partners bought Virgin Pulse and employer wellness company RedBrick Health and combined them under the Virgin Pulse brand.

Welltok brings a broad portfolio of clients and capabilities and complements Virgin Pulse’s digital-first platform with additional communication channels, including text/SMS, mail, social and interactive voice response, according to the company.

Both companies focus on engaging patients and members to help them make decisions about their health.

Welltok’s technology combines clinical and lifestyle data with predictive analytics and multi-channel outreach to connect users with personalized actions that improve their health and wellbeing. The company currently works with the nation’s top Medicare, Medicaid and commercial plans, according to Welltok. More than 100 health systems and hospitals use Welltok's solutions to run patient engagement and acquisition campaigns, while also delivering COVID-19 critical communications.  

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By delivering personalized content and resources, Welltok says it helps individuals take critical actions such as scheduling an annual check-up, selecting insurance coverage or refilling medications. 

“The addition of Welltok will allow us to deliver new and expanded data, analytics and multi-channel communications capabilities to our current clients while accelerating our ability to deliver a scalable end-to-end health activation and engagement platform that addresses the unique needs of the healthcare industry,” said Chris Michalak, CEO of Virgin Pulse in a statement.

“Combining Welltok’s ability to identify and motivate consumers to initiate and complete specific health actions, with Virgin Pulse’s ability to engage users in managing and making the best possible decisions about their health and wellbeing every day will provide clients, consumers, patients and members a clear path to achieving health outcomes and demonstrable cost savings," he said.
The merger is expected to close later this month.

Evercore acted as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Virgin Pulse. UBS Securities LLC acted as financial advisor and Shearman & Sterling LLP served as legal advisor to Welltok.