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News18 » Tech
1-min read

Google-Fitbit Acquisition Deal is Being Scrutinised by US Department of Justice

Google announced in November that it plans to acquire Fitbit in a $2.1 billion deal to take on Apple and Samsung in the fitness-trackers, smartwatches segment.


Updated:December 12, 2019, 2:14 PM IST
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Google-Fitbit Acquisition Deal is Being Scrutinised by US Department of Justice
Image for Representation (Reuters)

The US Justice Department will review plans by Alphabet Inc-owned Google's bid to buy fitness tracker maker Fitbit Inc for possible antitrust issues, a source told Reuters. The $2.1 billion deal will give search and advertising giant Google the capability to take on Apple and Samsung in the crowded market for fitness trackers and smartwatches. The deal, which was announced on November 1, is presently in the final stages of regulatory approval, and is expected to go through by early next year, should it fulfill all regulatory approvals.

However, Watchdog groups like Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy, among others, have urged antitrust enforcers to block the deal on the grounds that it will give Google even more data about American consumers. Anticipating such moves, Google, along with Fitbit, was keen to underline that it will not be using health data collected from Fitbit's active user base to serve targeted advertisements, and treat such data with requisite privacy norms. That, though, has not quenched suspicion from regulatory and activist bodies on whether the tech giant would actually come good on its promise.

The New York Post was the first to report that the US Department of Justice will review the merger. The Federal Trade Commission also reviews mergers and could have investigated Google’s deal for Fitbit. Big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple have consistently faced a slew of antitrust probes of late by the federal government, state attorneys general and congress. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the move pans out, and whether Google gets to retain its acquisition stake in Fitbit.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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