Hand-held ultrasound developer Butterfly Network to go public through $1.5B acquisition deal

30 November 2020

Conor Hale / FierceBiotech

Hand-held ultrasound developer Butterfly Network is going public through a $1.5 billion acquisition deal backed by the hedge fund Glenview Capital Management.

Technically speaking, Butterfly will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Longview Acquisition Corp., a special purpose company sponsored by Glenview, which previously posted a $300 million IPO of its own over six months ago.

After the deal closes in the first quarter of 2021, Longview will then rename itself to “Butterfly Network, Inc.,” and begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "BFLY." Glenview, meanwhile, is set to control 7.6% of the future company’s outstanding stock.

Butterfly’s current investors—which include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, investment management firm Baillie Gifford and Hong Kong-based manufacturer Fosun Industrial—will see 100% of their shares converted toward the new company.

Butterfly’s founder, Jonathan Rothberg, will be named chairman and serve as the largest controlling shareholder, while CEO Laurent Faracci will continue to lead the company going forward.

“Nine years ago, Butterfly was created to make high-quality ultrasound affordable, easy to use and globally accessible to all,” Rothberg said in a statement. “My pride in our team’s innovation and my gratitude to our partners for their funding and support are only matched by my enthusiasm to realize Butterfly Network’s enormous potential.”

Additional investors have also moved to back the former Fierce 15 winner—including Eldridge, Fidelity Management, Ridgeback, Tenet Healthcare, UPMC Enterprises and Wellington Management—through a $175 million private investment in public equity, or PIPE deal, at a price of $10 per share.

When the metamorphosis is complete, Butterfly is expected to emerge with $584 million in cash, which it plans to put toward increasing the adoption of its technologies and fueling the development of its pipeline. 

Butterfly’s ultrasound transducer can be used to image just about any place on the body through a hand-held probe connected to a smartphone or tablet. 

The company recently unveiled the next generation of its device, the iQ+, and announced a collaboration with the American College of Cardiology to help make point-of-care ultrasound a more standard practice for diagnosing heart conditions.

“Butterfly is the epitome of value-based care: better health, lower cost, and patient centric,” said Larry Robbins, founder of Glenview and chairman of Longview. “We are proud that our Butterfly investment will help accelerate efforts to provide the medical community with tools to diagnose more clearly and enable practitioners to be more effective, more efficient and more confident.”

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