Months after Hudson Executive Investment Corporation (Nasdaq: HECCU) announced its plan to acquire the virtual behavioral health provider Talkspace, shareholders of the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) otherwise known as HEIC have overwhelmingly voted to approve the deal.
At a special shareholders meeting Thursday, 94% of votes were in approval of the merger. Affirmative votes represented approximately 74% of HEIC’s outstanding shares.
The newly combined company will list on the Nasdaq and be renamed Talkspace Inc. Its common stock and warrants will trade under the symbols TALK and TALKW, respectively, with trading expected to begin June 23.
Headquartered in New York, Talkspace provides a variety of virtual behavioral health care services, including individual, couples and teen therapy, as well as psychiatric prescription management. Talkspace matches users with therapists in their home states, with care services available 24/7 via voice, video and text messaging.
Over 2 million individuals have used Talkspace’s services since the company was founded in 2011, with 55 million workers currently covered for those services through insurance, employee assistance programs and other network behavioral health paid benefit programs.
The company has raised $113 million throughout its history, according to fundraising tracking website Crunchbase. Plus, it has landed high profile endorsements from celebrities such as Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps and singer Demi Lovato.
Talkspace made news in January when it announced that it had agreed to be purchased by HEIC for $1.4 billion in a play to go public.
SPAC acquisitions have become a popular way for companies to go public in recent years, as opposed to going through the traditional initial public offering (IPO) process. Often referred to as a “blank check company,” a SPAC is a publicly-traded corporation that is set up strictly for the purpose of merging with a company and taking that acquired company public.
The SPAC process has become a more favorable way for young companies to go public because it allows them to do so in a quicker manner than the traditional IPO process, which usually involves more financial disclosures, along with more time spent fundraising.
This year alone, more than 340 companies have gone public by way of a SPAC merger, almost 100 more than in 2020, according to data and research site SPAC Analytics.
Currently, very few behavioral health providers are publicly traded, but Talkspace adds another to the fold. Additionally, analysts have been keeping their eyes on whether other behavioral companies will follow Talkspace’s lead.
“Behavioral health is something that the pandemic has pushed mostly online,” Diego Arias, a ventures analyst for innovation platform Plug and Play Tech Center, told Behavioral Health Business earlier this month. “As that sector continues to gain visibility, if more companies were to go public via SPAC, I think it would be great for the visibility, not only with behavioral health, but also for … the wider digital health ecosystem.”