Reports of Google looking to acquire popular wearable company Fitbit made their way to the Internet earlier this week. Well, the rumors have been proven true. Google has today taken to its official blog to confirm the acquisition of Fitbit, a move which it states will be helpful in furthering the Wear OS, as well as Made by Google hardware ecosystem.
The official press release states, “Fitbit, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Google LLC for $7.35 per share in cash.” This means the wearable maker has been valued at approximately $2.1 billion in this deal, which is higher than its current $1.86 billion market capital (share price: $7.20). The transaction is said to be closed next year in 2020.
James Park, the co-founder and CEO of Fitbit comments on the acquisition, “Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. 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’s team will now join Google and most likely expand on Wear OS with Pebble’s software team (which Fitbit acquired last year) while also pivoting its Versa smartwatch into a ‘Made by Google’ product. The wearable maker, in its press release, adds that it’s going to remain platform agnostic (work both with Android and iOS) and preserve user security, as well as privacy.
“This agreement underscores our belief in how important wearable tech has become, and it’s also an exciting opportunity for Wear OS. We’re looking forward to collaborating with Fitbit to bring the best of our smartwatch platforms and health applications together and enabling our partners to build the next generation of wearables,” says Google’s Wear OS Product Manager, Sameer Samat in the blog post.
Even before today’s confirmation, Google’s move to acquire Fitbit has been mocked by many. It’s being referred as “a way for Google to build a Pixel Watch” and then shutter Fitbit – like it has done several brands and products over the past few years.
One of the best examples of Google’s short-lived aspirations has to be the acquisition of “Motorola Mobility,” which didn’t turn out to be as fruitful as the search giant might have expected. I think we all know what happened with that. Motorola was bought by Google some time in 2012 and sold off to Lenovo in 2014 for $2.91 billion, a fraction of the sum that was paid (around $12.5 billion) to acquire it.
We’re not trying to undermine Google’s ability to build hardware, but we sort of are. We sure are excited to see what Fitbit brings to the table – a smart wearable, controlled by Google Assistant, and providing health-focused features on par with the Apple Watch. I mean, if Google wants the much-rumored Pixel Watch to be a success, then it has to get the recipe (almost) right in the first go.