Google to acquire Fitbit, doubling down on digital health and wearables

Saturday, 02 Nov, 2019

The news began circulating earlier this week, after Fitbit put itself up for sale, and sees Google try a new tack in its attempts to break into the wearables market.

Google said on Friday that it sees an opportunity to introduce its own wearable devices and invest more in digital health. Google said it would give Fitbit users the choice to review, move or delete their data.

Google doesn't just want a place in your home.

The move allows Google to expand into the market for fitness trackers and smart watches.

The transaction is expected to close in 2020, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Fitbit's stockholders and regulatory approvals.

For Fitbit, it's a noble exit after putting up a decent fight in the years since the launch of Apple's smartwatch.

More than a few people opted to ditch their personal fitness trackers. Its policy says the company collects personal information, such as date of birth, gender, height and weight, and device information, such as sleep schedule and Global Positioning System location. The new fitness trackers could incorporate better integration with smartphones using Google's Fit apps as well. Women can also track their periods. The wearable maker, in its press release, adds that it's going to remain platform agnostic (work both with Android and iOS) and preserve user security, as well as privacy.

"I think eventually this will be a very large, important business", he said.

Perhaps anticipating concerns about the company's use of customer health data, Osterloh said Google won't use Fitbit personal information for ad purposes.

This also seems in line with Google's vision for the company. Fitbit has sold over 100 million devices and has millions of active users.

Initially, the company's shares were priced at $20 but soared to more than $50 in the weeks following the initial public offering (IPO).

A statement from Fitbit confirms the deal is worth around $2.1 billion.

In short, Fitbit's products are not ones Google should be excited about buying. The stock jumped another 15% in morning trading Friday. Google is proposing to buy Fitbit in an all-cash deal for $7.35 per share.

Fitbit has been expanding its partnerships with major health care companies such as Humana to encourage healthier living and disease management.

Last year, Fitbit acquired a cloud-based health coaching platform used to help manage conditions including diabetes and hypertension. Google and Apple devices could dent market share for companies making special-purpose wearables for specific diseases or conditions. Samsung came in fifth.

Fitbit is one of the most popular health wearable makers out there-and was also one of the first.

Fitbit co-founder and CEO, James Park, said: "Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission".