INTERNATIONAL – Alphabet-owned Google will buy fitness tracker pioneer Fitbit Inc for $2.1 billion (R31.5 billion), as the search giant looks to take on Apple and Samsung in the fast-growing market for wearable devices.
Google said on Friday that it sees an opportunity to introduce "Made by Google" wearable devices into the market and invest more in wearable technology. It had announced a deal to buy Fossil Group's intellectual property related to smartwatch technology earlier this year.
Fitbit’s share of the fitness tracking market has been threatened by deeper-pocket companies such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics as well as cheaper offerings from China’s Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi.
“We believe Google is a natural fit. The deep health and fitness data, coupled with the 28 million active users on the Fitbit platform, offer a tremendous value,” Craig Hallum analysts wrote in a note.
Xiaomi dominates the global wearables market, with a 17.3 percent market share in the second quarter of 2019, followed by Apple. Fitbit owns 10 percent of the market, data from International Data Corp showed.