Online therapy provider Talkspace to go public via $1.4 billion SPAC deal

(Reuters) - Online therapy app Talkspace on Wednesday agreed to go public through a merger with Doug Braunstein-backed blank-check firm Hudson Executive Investment Corp, in a deal valued at $1.4 billion, including debt.

The deal includes $300 million by way of private investment by firms including Federated Hermes Kaufmann Funds, Jennison Associates LLC, Woodline Partners LP and Deerfield.

Talkspace’s app links customers with licensed therapists, allowing therapy to be provided via video chat and text. Celebrities such as swimmer Michael Phelps and singer Demi Lovato are promoters of the app.

The company raised $50 million in its last funding round, which was led by venture capital firm Revolution Growth, according to Pitchbook.

Hudson Executive Investment Corp, a special purpose acquisition company founded by former JPMorgan Chase & Co finance chief Braunstein, raised $360 million through an initial public offering (IPO) last year.

SPACs are shell companies which raise equity through an IPO to merge with a privately held company, which then becomes publicly traded as result. They have emerged as a popular alternative to a traditional IPO for companies looking to go public.

Talkspace will be listed on the Nasdaq and will trade under the new ticker symbol “TALK”.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC was the lead financial advisor to Talkspace.

(Corrects spelling of Doug Braunstein in paragraph 1,5)

Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur