Google has completed a $ 2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit, the company announced today. The news comes on the heels of an EU announcement late last year that it approved the deal after Google made a commitment to Fitbit’s planned operations and use of health data.
In the announcement, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh said the acquisition was “About the device, not the information” underscored the point. He reiterated Google’s commitment to managing acquisitions in global markets. These commitments include no use of Fitbit users’ health and wellness data for Google ad tracking.
Osterloh also said the deal would not affect the functionality of third-party fitness trackers with Android or Fitbit functionality with any other non-Google service.
In a statement, Fitbit CEO James Park welcomed the news and said the acquisition would allow the company to “innovate faster, have more options, and create better products.” And Fitbit’s service will still work on both iOS and Android.
“We will maintain data privacy and stringent security protections, giving you control over your data and maintaining transparency about what we collect and why,” Park said.
It is a concern with information like this that prompted regulators around the world to review the deal. Late last year, EU regulators finished their approval of the deal, an investigation they began in August.
Approval comes with a number of conditions, including Google’s ability to use Fitbit data from users in the European Economic Area (EEA) such as GPS and health data for ad targeting. With approval, EEA users must be able to choose not to share their health and wellness information with other Google services, and Google agrees to continue supporting third-party wearables with Android. That said, the option to opt out will apply to Fitbit users around the world, Google said. The VergeTo enable users outside the EEA to make use of
It appears that Google’s announcement comes ahead of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) final decision on the acquisition. In late december The Guardian It was reported that Google was at the risk of up to $ 400 million in fines for performing the deal without regulatory approval.
At the time, the ACCC rejected the terms Google proposed for the data deal, including fears it could force Fitbit competitors to leave the wearable device market due to Google’s reliance on Android, although ACCC President Rod Sims acknowledged. Google’s proposed concessions, but he voiced concerns, could not be “effectively reviewed and enforced in Australia”, the Australian regulator said, an investigation will continue before the new decision date of March 25, 2021.
Google declined to comment on the memo regarding the ongoing investigation of the ACCC.
The U.S. Justice Department also released a statement Thursday that it was still reviewing the deal and had not been finalized before Google’s announcement.
“The Antitrust Division investigation into the Google acquisition of Fitbit continues. Although the department has not yet made a final decision on whether to proceed with enforcement But the department is still investigating whether Google’s acquisition of Fitbit could jeopardize competition and US consumers, ”read the statement accordingly. New York Times“The Division remains committed to conducting this investigation as thoroughly, efficiently and as quickly as possible.”
Google announced its acquisition of Fitbit a year ago in November 2019, when Osterloh called it “even more investment opportunities in Wear OS, including introducing Made by Google wearables to the market.”
In his letter announcing the acquisition, Park said Fitbit has now sold more than 120 million devices in more than 100 countries.
Update Jan. 14, 10:13 a.m. ET: An additional statement from the Justice Department said an investigation into Google’s Fitbit acquisition was ongoing.
Update Jan. 14, 10:41 a.m. ET: Clarified that Google’s obligations to EU regulators will apply globally, including the ability to opt-out of information sharing. It also noted that Google declined to comment on the memo regarding the ACCC’s ongoing review of the deal.