Babylon Health home screen

Source: Babylon Health

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is reportedly planning to invest in U.K. start-up Babylon Health, in a deal that would put give the company “unicorn” status.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that people with direct knowledge of the plans said Saudi investors were in advanced talks with Babylon, with the investment expected to push the company’s value over the $1 billion mark – a key figure in order to qualify as a unicorn.

The exact amount of the investment was unclear, sources told the FT, but it was thought to be in the region of $100 million to $500 million.

The investment could be announced as soon as this week, the FT reported. It would be the first time Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund has invested in a U.K. tech start-up.

Babylon, which was founded in 2013 by entrepreneur Ali Parsa, is an app that allows users to video call medical practitioners for remote appointments around the clock. The app also incorporates artificial intelligence that gives users a medical diagnosis after they enter their symptoms.

It is currently being trialed by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) and operates in Rwanda, with plans to expand into China, the U.S. and the Middle East.

“Babylon declines to comment on these rumours,” a spokesperson for Babylon Health told CNBC via email on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.



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