“Google is set to win conditional European Union approval for its $2.1 billion takeover of health tracker Fitbit Inc. this month,” Bloomberg writes.
Woah! Approval could come as soon as this week after “national competition authorities give their opinion.” The EU consults the “so-called advisory committee” before it issues approval on mergers.
How We Got Here: Google announced its intention to buy the smartwatch maker in 2019 as a means to “improve its lagging hardware business.” Like other Big Tech firms, a mountain of regulator scrutiny surrounds Google as it’s currently facing “potentially restrictive regulation” in the EU and other places.
Google has agreed to “concessions to allay EU antitrust concerns” about the move, but the details of its final promise to regulators are unclear. However, according to Bloomberg sources, it could look like Google’s agreement with Australia’s Competition & Consumer Commission.
- “Google pledged to Australia that it would maintain health and fitness apps’ access to Google and Fitbit data and ensure Android phones could keep working with other wearable devices for 10 years.”
Final Word: If it’s worth anything, which it probably is, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said the company anticipates the deal for Fitbit will be completed this year.
While I don’t love Fitbit’s business model, this is another acquisition along the way on Alphabet’s ($GOOG’s) quest to own more and more data sources. Of all companies, Alphabet knows the power and value of data.
If they can harness and analyze Fitbit’s installed base and predict behavior and health patterns, it could be immensely valuable. I also think that if they integrate Fitbit to their Nest family, it might boost sales, but my confidence in Google’s ability to sell hardware isn’t all that high compared to Amazon or Apple.