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Image credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Best Buy bought the company behind senior-friendly JitterBug phone

The $800 million acquisition also gives Best Buy the company’s 900,000 service subscribers.
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Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Yesterday, Best Buy announced that it paid $800 million to acquire GreatCall, the company that makes the senior-friendly JitterBug phones. Perhaps more importantly, it has an emergency response service that more than 900,000 subscribers pay for. That fits the retail giant's pivot to providing tech support and services as it moves away from focusing exclusively on devices and physical media.

"The acquisition is a manifestation of the Best Buy 2020 strategy to enrich lives through technology by addressing key human needs," read the company's press release announcing the acquisition. The company claimed it's specifically focusing on catering to the growing needs of the aging population with technology products: GreatCall's emergency service lets subscribers summon help through a selection of devices, including the Jitterbug phones. But Best Buy lays this acquisition as part of a greater strategy that includes participation from health care providers and insurers.

"Now, we have a great opportunity to serve the needs of these customers by combining GreatCall's expertise with Best Buy's unique merchandising, marketing, sales and services capabilities," Best Buy chairman and CEO Hubert Joly said in the press release.

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