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Google buys Fitbit for $2.1 billion

Google has acquired San Francisco-based fitness tracker brand Fitbit for $2.1 billion (£1.6 billion).

The deal is Google’s biggest consumer purchase since it paid $3 billion for smart home brand Nest five years ago.

With the coming together of two large technology companies, unsurprisingly, the deal has received instant scrutiny.

With 28 million active Fitbit users worldwide, the deal will have to be approved by shareholders and regulators, especially over how Google handles the fitness brand’s users’ data. Fitbit said it would not sell customers’ personal data and pledged that “wellness data would not be used by Google ads”.

However, the purchase is already coming under fire from US lawmakers, reports Business Times.

“Why should Google be permitted to acquire even more companies while they’re under DOJ antitrust investigation?” Josh Hawley, a Republican US senator from Missouri, said on Twitter referring to the Justice Department.

“Google is signalling that it will continue to flex and expand its power in spite of this immense scrutiny,” said representative David Cicilline, who heads the House antitrust investigation into the big tech companies.

“Google’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit would also give the company deep insights into Americans’ most sensitive information – such as their health and location data – threatening to further entrench its market power online.”

Fitbit predicts that the acquisition will close sometime in 2020, as both companies have given themselves a year to gain antitrust clearances.

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