Talkspace Agrees to $1.4 Billion Merger With Hudson Executive

(Bloomberg) — 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, according to a statement Wednesday, confirming a report in Bloomberg News. 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.“Hudson Executive’s experience and relationships in health care, expertise in capital markets, and alignment with our mission will be invaluable as we continue to grow, innovate and improve mental health outcomes,” Talkspace Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Oren Frank said in a statement.Frank will continue to lead the company with Co-founder Roni Frank while Braunstein will become board chairman.“Talkspace is a purpose-built technology company designed to meet the unmet medical needs in behavioral health,” said Braunstein, Hudson managing partner. Braunstein used to be JPMorgan’s chief financial officer.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.It has raised capital from investors including Revolution Growth, Norwest Venture Partners, Qumra Capital, Spark Capital and Compound.Hudson raised $414 million in an initial public offering last year.Its shares were little changed at $11.50 at 9:35 a.m. Wednesday in New York, giving the blank-check company a market value of $595 million.Takspace’s advisers on the deal were JPMorgan Chase & Co., Jefferies Financial Group Inc. and Latham & Watkins. Citigroup Inc. and Millbank advised Hudson.