(Bloomberg)—Walmart Inc. is in early talks about a deal for closely held PillPack, an online startup that could help grow the retail giant’s pharmacy offerings, according to people familiar with the situation.
PillPack and Walmart declined to comment. CNBC first reported the talks Monday and said the price being discussed was less than $1 billion. It’s not clear if the talks will lead to a deal.
PillPack has raised $118 million in venture funding, the company says on its website. It pre-sorts pills into date- and time-stamped packets for patients who take multiple drugs—common for older people dealing with several chronic conditions. It also has developed pharmacy software that helps coordinate refills, ensures the shipments are on time and provides an online dashboard for patients.
Five years ago CEO and pharmacist TJ Parker launched PillPack, which now operates in 49 states. Annual sales have grown to $100 million and the customer base has grown to 40,000 consumers, according to Parker. In September, a ranking by Forbes estimated that PillPack could be valued as a $1 billion company inside five years.
“Our customers are people who live with chronic conditions and take multiple daily medications,” Parker says. “We aim to make it simple to take these medications as prescribed, which is shown to support better health.”
Seniors are a key demographic for Walmart, which runs about 4,700 U.S. pharmacies and has been eyeing how to expand its healthcare business for years.
Walmart also has a deal with insurer Humana Inc. to offer co-branded Medicare drug plans. Last week, Bloomberg and others reported that Walmart was discussing a closer partnership or merger with Humana.
The two companies haven’t commented on the reports, and Bloomberg reported that they are mainly considering a deeper partnership to provide care to consumers at or near their homes, as opposed to an outright merger.
Walmart is No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500.