Google buys Fitbit for $2.1B, enters crowded wearables field

Fitbit is being acquired by Google’s parent company for about $2.1 billion, a deal that enables the search-engine company to leap into the hotly competitive market for smartwatches and health and fitness trackers.

Fitbit is a pioneer in wearable technology, but it’s been shredded by that competition. The company’s market capitalization soared to just under $10 billion after becoming a public company in 2015. Its value this week is well below $2 billion.

Google has struggled to stake a big presence in the wearables market, though this deal could give it more of an opportunity to compete with the Apple Watch.

When rumours of a potential buyout by Google surfaced earlier this week, Fitbit shares soared almost 30%. The stock jumped another 17% at the opening bell Friday.

Alphabet said it will pay $7.35 per share for the company, which were trading at $7.20 each after the deal was announced.

“With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone,” Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park said in a statement.

Fitbit has 28 million active users worldwide and has sold more than 100 million devices. The company said that its privacy and security guidelines won’t change and that it will continue to be transparent about the data it collects and why. Fitbit said that it never sells personal information and that its health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.

Fitbit’s privacy policy says data it collects include a user’s date of birth, gender, height, weight, and for some users it also stores logs tracking their food and water intake, as well as sleep and female health patterns.

The deal is expected to close next year if approved by regulators and Fitbit shareholders.

Michelle Chapman, The Associated Press

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