A “blank check company” led by the billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya is acquiring the Medicare insurance company Clover Health, the companies announced on Tuesday. The deal would value Clover Health at $3.7 billion
The deal is being done through a special-purpose vehicle, or SPAC, which uses public market funds to buy private companies and take them public. It is the third such deal done through Mr. Palihapitiya’s Social Capital Hedosophia fund, after the real estate start-up Opendoor and the space tourism company Virgin Galactic.
Clover, founded in 2013, sells Medicare insurance in largely rural or underserved areas. Alongside that insurance, it also offers software to physicians that helps aggregate key data on patients who are part of the Clover network. That data can, in turn, improve care and bring the cost of care down, the company argues.
Still, Clover, which promotes its software as a distinguishing feature, has indicated that technology alone is not enough to sustain the company. Clover laid off about a quarter of its employees last year as it sought to focus on hiring health care experts in addition to technology developers.
Cash from the SPAC will fuel Clover Health’s growth beyond the more than 57,000 members it currently serves across seven states, the people said. That scale will help it achieve profitability, a goal it hopes to meet by 2023.
The deal includes up to $1.2 billion in cash proceeds, $400 million of which will be through a private investment in the public entity, or PIPE, led by Mr. Palihapitiya.