Fitbit announced in 2019 that it would be acquired by Google. Before the takeover can be arranged, authorities must give their opinion. Google previously managed to win over the European Commission – in Australia it is not yet that far, warns the Australian ACCC.
Acquisition of Fitbit
Fitbit has been preparing to be acquired by Google since 2019. Despite the fact that it concerns two independent companies, the deal between the major powers must first be approved by different governments. An investigation was launched in the European Commission into the impact of the acquisition. With the investigation, the Committee focused on the way in which Google handles data from Fitbit users.
Google says it is only interested in the hardware, not the data from Fitbit users
There are concerns about any links between Fitbit users’ health data and the advertising data Google currently holds about its users. By linking the data, Google could create very specific profiles, giving it an ‘edge’ over its direct competitors in the advertising industry. Google previously announced that it would not link the data – that way it would not benefit from the data for its advertising industry.
Agreement is not a license
In July, the European Commission agreed on the proposal; in Europe, Google can continue the acquisition. Australia points out to Google on Tuesday evening that it is not a license to actually go ahead with the acquisition. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said on Tuesday that it does not agree with a proposal from Google – the committee says it will continue its own investigation and make a decision based on its own results.
The ACCC is expected to present the report on March 25 concluding whether the search giant is entitled to acquire Fitbit, or what objections the committee has against a takeover of the smartwatch maker. Google is asked, in Tuesday evening’s message, to await this investigation. Rod Sims, chairman of the ACCC, said a violation of this request could lead to legal action – which could result in a fine of up to $ 400 million.
No US agreement (yet)
Australia is not the only party in the lack of takeover: in the meantime, a decision from the US is being awaited. In both countries, governments are wondering to what extent the takeover of the manufacturer will lead to a change in Google’s competitive position. When the US will release more information about their decision on the deal is still unknown. Google, meanwhile, says it will stay in touch with the ACCC to be able to answer ‘questions about the deal’.
What do you think of the deal between Google and Fitbit? Should governments put an end to the deal, or do you think private parties should be able to make decisions independently or are you just in the middle? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of the article.