Johnson & Johnson Becomes an HR Vendor With Latest Acquisition

Many of us in the human resource marketplace tend to focus on "talent management software and services vendors".

This is not surprising considering many of the publicly traded HR vendors provide these services. But there are a lot of other human resource vendors including recruitment and staffing, compensation/payroll, employee benefits, training and development, compliance/legal, etc. For a great overview of the human capital marketplace see our HR Marketplace article.

One particular HR category that has been getting a lot of attention this week is "online health coaching". The reason is because Johnson & Johnson announced this week that it bought HealthMedia, Inc., a provider of online health coaching services and software to help employers reduce healthcare costs. (BTW, this was a very interesting purchase considering J&J got out of a similar business in 2003 when they sold their subsidiary Health & Fitness Services for about $5 million.)

Ted Dacko, HealthMedia’s CEO and president, recently said his company, which had $23 million in revenue last year, has the potential to reach $500 million in sales and that during the last few years he has received one or two telephone calls per week from people interested in buying his company.

Looks like Ted chose a great buyer with J&J. Congratulations Mr. Dacko.

HealthMedia sells their online coaching services direct to employers (eBay, J&J, etc.) and insurance companies (BCBS plans, Aetna, etc.) who in turn either offer the program to their employer clients or direct to health plan participants.

Two years ago, Ceridian made a similar purchase when they acquired the online health coaching (and long time member) Leade Health. And earlier this month, Gordian Health Solutions announced they had selected Hummingbird Coaching (a provider of online health coaching services and another long time member) to be the online health coaching partner for the iCoaching program it rolled out earlier this year. Hummingbird Coaching Services also works with Google, Motorola and United Healthcare, among others. And just this week, Wellsource, a provider of online health coaching services, announced a partnership with Health Solutions Ltd to expand it's health coaching services.

Looks like the competition in the health coaching and wellness industry is heating up.

In their press release, J&J stated that HealthMedia is the base for their “Wellness & Prevention Platform.”

The "base"?

If history is any indication, my hunch is J&J is not done acquiring wellness companies.

If you are a vendor in the health coaching or employee wellness space such as an EAP, Work-Life, or Wellness company then now is the time to step up your marketing and PR.


Because with a big name like J&J getting into this space a lot of companies (e.g., JNJ competitors) and investors will be taking a fresh look at the space and this gives you the opportunity to get some good visibility with a minimal investment. If you are easily found online.

For example, after this announcement I went to Google and did a search for "online health coaching" and I bet a lot of other people did the same. Who shows up? Hummingbird does as a result of their regular search-optimized press releases via and the fact that their site is search-optimized. So does Gordian. But not many others do. And I counted just four sponsored links (AdWords).

I see opportunity.

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