Amazon buys healthcare provider One Medical for $3.9 billion

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Amazon’s deal to buy One Medical for $3.9 billion, a test for US lawmakers and regulators who have vowed to curb the power of big tech

Amazon has announced plans to buy San Francisco-based healthcare provider One Medical for $3.9bn (£3.24bn), in a deal that could be a test for regulators and lawmakers, many of whom have said they want to curb the market power of the biggest tech companies.

The all-cash arrangement is intended to foster the company’s moves in the medical industry, which date back more than 20 years.

The e-commerce giant said last week it would pay One Medical shareholders $18 per share, a premium of more than 75% over its closing price on Wednesday. Shares of One Medical closed up 69% on Thursday after the news.

Andy Jassy, ​​CEO of Amazon. Image credit: Amazon

Regulation test

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar said she was calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “thoroughly investigate” the deal, citing Amazon’s past investments in healthcare and the implications of accessing company to medical data.

Ask by The Washington Post In June, regarding Amazon’s expansion into healthcare, FTC Chair Lina Khan said, “Our current approach to merger thinking still has some work to do to fully understand what it means for these companies to enter all these other markets and industries.”

Amazon was a major investor in Drugstore.com, a start-up launched in 1999 and acquired by US pharmacy chain Walgreens in 2011, and more recently bought prescription delivery company PillPack in 2018 before launching its own subsidiary Amazon Pharmacy in 2020.

Image credit: One Medical
Image credit: One Medical

Telehealth

One Medical offers a subscription-based model where users pay a monthly fee for access to doctors, including but not limited to virtual appointments.

The company went public in early 2020 and its stock price climbed during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, but those shares are now trading below their original listing price.

“We believe healthcare is high on the list of experiences that need to be reimagined,” Amazon Health Services senior vice president Neil Lindsay said in a statement.

“We love to invent to make what should be easy easier and we want to be one of the companies that will help to dramatically improve the healthcare experience over the next few years,” he said.

Google Health

One of Amazon’s biggest rivals in combining technology and healthcare is Google, which last year acquired fitness tracking company Fitbit.

London-based AI company DeepMind, which Google bought in 2014, operates a healthcare division that was absorbed into Google Health in 2019.

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