Google closes deal to buy Fitbit as US Justice Dept probe continues

Google Fitbit Wearables

Search and advertising giant Google has closed its deal to purchase gym tracking company Fitbit, the companies said, even as the US Justice Department said that it was continuing its investigation of the $2.1 billion transaction.

The Justice Department, which litigated Google in October for allegedly violating antitrust legislation in its search and search advertising businesses, said it “has not reached a final decision about whether to pursue an enforcement action” concerning the Fitbit deal.

“We complied with the DOJ’s (Justice Department’s) extensive review for the past 14 months, and the agreed upon waiting period expired without their objection,” a Google spokesperson said. “We continue to be in touch with them and we’re committed to answering any additional questions.”

It is uncommon for a big deal to shut without antitrust approval.

Australia hasn’t yet approved the trade. Google won EU antitrust approval a month for its Fitbit bid after agreeing to restrictions on how it may use clients’ health-related data.

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Fitbit makes a watch-like device to measure physical activity that competes with Apple Watch and others. Google said it was buying the company in order to compete in this market.

“We worked together with worldwide regulators on an approach which protects consumers’ privacy expectations,” Google said in a blog article, which said Fitbit had 29 million active users.

“(That includes) a series of binding commitments that confirm Fitbit users’ health and wellness data will not be used for Google advertisements and this information will be separated from other Google ads data”

While Alphabet is best known for a free service, its search engine, it has many other businesses, including online advertising services, audio device and thermostat maker Nest, video streamer YouTube and self-driving car company Waymo.

Google’s plan to buy Fitbit raised concerns when it was announced in late 2019 because of its already rich trove of data about people, what they buy, where they travel, and more.

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Fitbit’s fitness trackers and other devices monitor users’ measures and calories burned. They also quantify floors climbed, heart rate, and just how long and how well individuals sleep.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru. Editing by Arun Koyyur, Jan Harvey and David Gregorio.

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