Babylon looks to sell UK business amid bankruptcy fears

Babylon Health is looking to sell its UK business, including its 100,000 patient NHS GP practice, and may fall into administration, the company has announced.

Following the story back in May that shares in Babylon fell sharply on news that the company was being taken private as part of a new debt plan, the firm announced this week that a $34.5m attempt to restructure and return to private ownership fell through.

Babylon GP at Hand, an online-first GP practice with over 100,000 registered NHS patients around London, is the firm’s main remaining NHS service.

The company revealed that it is now “exploring strategic alternatives in order to find the best outcome for its UK business”, which includes the possibility of selling off the UK business. According to HSJ, senior figures in Babylon are confident that its UK business, including the entities that deliver NHS services, will not close.

Last month, the company was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and has since announced that London-based investment firm AlbaCore Capital are taking over its assets without shareholders’ approval, and that it was calling administrators in the UK.

Babylon said in a statement that it “cannot provide assurance that it will be able to secure sufficient liquidity to fund the operations of the Group’s business”.

“To the extent that Babylon is unable to secure additional funding and complete a Third Party Sale of a particular business, the applicable entities of the Group will file for bankruptcy protection or implement other alternatives for an orderly wind down and liquidation or dissolution,” the firm added.

Babylon Health is a UK AI firm that was promoted as the future of the NHS by the then health secretary Matt Hancock. Founded in 2013 by former UK Iranian banker Ali Parsa, the company claimed its AI could revolutionise healthcare through virtual appointments and diagnostic chatbots such as its GP at Hand.

Despite Babylon winning a number of NHS contracts, thanks in part to Hancock’s promotion of GP at Hand in 2018, experts continuously warned the technology was unproven and overhyped.

The company now faces collapse after losing almost the entirety of its $4.2 billion valuation.

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.

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