Merger Case M.9660 | Acquisition of Fitbit by Google

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Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2019-
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Summary:

Reports and information concerning the proposed acquisition of Fitbit by Google and the investigation conducted by the European Commission under the EU's Merger Regulation.

Further information:

Google is an American multinational technology company active in a wide range of product areas. Amongst other products and services, Google develops licensable operation systems for smartphones and smartwatches, as well as applications, such as health and fitness applications. The company also offers IT and information/research services for the healthcare industry. Fitbit is an American company active in the development, manufacturing and distribution of wearable devices, and connected scales in the health and wellness sector, as well as in the supply of related software and services.

The two companies announced in late 2019 that they had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Google LLC. The transaction was notified to the European Commission on 15 June 2020. Following a preliminary investigation, concerns were raised that the proposed acquisition would further entrench Google's market position in the online advertising markets by increasing the already vast amount of data that Google could use for personalisation of the ads it serves and displays. Google submitted commitments to address the Commission's concerns on 13 July. Nonetheless, the Commission announced on 4 August the opening of an in-depth investigation concerning the proposed acquisition.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Forbes, 01/11/2019: Google Buys Fitbit For $2.1 Billion: Here’s What It Means https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidphelan/2019/11/01/google-buys-fitbit-for-21-billion-heres-what-it-means/#e99c465732f0
The Verge, 01/11/2019: Google is buying Fitbit: now what? https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/1/20943993/google-fitbit-acquisition-smartwatch-wearable-fitness-nest-htc-hardware-software
TIME, 04/11/2019: The Real Reason Google Is Buying Fitbit https://time.com/5717726/google-fitbit/
Privacy International: News & Analysis, 13/11/2019: Google wants to acquire Fitbit, and we shouldn’t let it! https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/3276/google-wants-acquire-fitbit-and-we-shouldnt-let-it
BEUC: Publications, May 2020: Google-Fitbit merger - Competition concerns and harms to consumers http://www.beuc.eu/publications/beuc-x-2020-035_google-fitbit_merger_competition_concerns_and_harms_to_consumers.pdf
The Conversation, 23/06/2020: Every step you take: why Google’s plan to buy Fitbit has the ACCC’s pulse racing https://theconversation.com/every-step-you-take-why-googles-plan-to-buy-fitbit-has-the-acccs-pulse-racing-141052

News
Euronews, 29/10/2019: Google eyes move into smartwatch sector with bid for Fitbit https://www.euronews.com/2019/10/29/google-eyes-move-into-smartwatch-sector-with-bid-for-fitbit
The Independent (UK), 01/11/2019: Google buys Fitbit for $2.1 billion https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/google-fitbit-deal-sale-cost-a9181006.html
The Verge, 01/11/2019: Google buys Fitbit for $2.1 billion https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/1/20943318/google-fitbit-acquisition-fitness-tracker-announcement
The Guardian, 06/11/2019: 'Tossed my Fitbit in the trash': users fear for privacy after Google buys company https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/05/fitbit-google-acquisition-health-data
Bloomberg, 10/02/2020: Google’s Fitbit Deal Tests Merger Cops Eyeing Data Giants https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-10/google-fitbit-deal-poses-test-for-merger-cops-eyeing-data-giants
EurActiv, 14/05/2020: EU consumer group warns against ‘game-changer’ Google-Fitbit deal https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/eu-consumer-group-warns-against-game-changer-google-fitbit-deal/
Reuters, 02/07/2020: U.S., EU advocacy groups warn against Google's purchase of Fitbit https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2430D4
The Verge, 03/07/2020: Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit acquisition is getting closer scrutiny from EU regulators https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/3/21312383/google-fibit-acquisition-antitrust-data-regulatory-eu-scrutiny
Reuters, 13/07/2020: Google offers data pledge in bid to win EU okay for Fitbit buy https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN24E2X5
MarketWatch, 13/07/2020: Google offers not to use Fitbit health data for ads to ease EU concerns: report https://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-offers-not-to-use-fitbit-health-data-for-ads-to-ease-eu-concerns-11594693991
EurActiv, 16/07/2020: EU regulators seek feedback on Google’s Fitbit data pledge https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/eu-regulators-seek-feedback-on-googles-fitbit-data-pledge/
BBC News, 04/08/2020: Google-Fitbit takeover: EU launches full-scale probe https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53647570
The New York Times, 04/08/2020: Google Faces European Inquiry Into Fitbit Acquisition https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/04/business/google-fitbit-europe.html
EurActiv, 04/08/2020: EU launches ‘in-depth’ probe of Google bid for Fitbit https://www.euractiv.com/section/competition/news/eu-launches-in-depth-probe-of-google-bid-for-fitbit/
City AM, 04/08/2020: EU launches full-scale probe of Google-Fitbit merger https://www.cityam.com/eu-launches-full-scale-probe-of-google-fitbit-merger/

Official
European Commission: DG Competition: Public Case Register: M.9660 Google / Fitbit https://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=2_M_9660
Fitbit: Press Release, 01/11/2019: Fitbit to Be Acquired by Google https://investor.fitbit.com/press/press-releases/press-release-details/2019/Fitbit-to-Be-Acquired-by-Google/default.aspx
Google: Blog, 01/11/2019: Helping more people with wearables: Google to acquire Fitbit https://blog.google/products/hardware/agreement-with-fitbit
European Commission: Press Release, 04/08/2020: Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of Fitbit by Google https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1446

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