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From: Glenn Petersen9/21/2019 9:20:39 AM
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Fitbit soars as it hires Qatalyst to explore sale

Published Fri, Sep 20 2019 2:13 PM EDT
Updated Fri, Sep 20 2019 4:02 PM EDT
Annie Palmer @annierpalmer
  • Fitbit hires boutique investment firm Qatalyst Partners to explore a sale, according to a person familiar with the matter.
  • Shares of Fitbit climbed 11.7% following the news.
  • No deal is imminent, and Fitbit could choose not to pursue a sale.

A Fitbit display is seen at a Target store in Los Angeles.
Getty Images

Fitbit has hired boutique investment firm Qatalyst Partners to explore a sale, according to a person familiar with the matter. Shares of the wearables company closed up 11.7% on Friday following the news.

No deal is imminent, said the person, who asked not to be named because the process is private. Representatives from Fitbit said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.

News of Fitbit exploring a sale was first reported by Reuters.

Qatalyst has urged Fitbit to consider a sale of the business for several weeks, saying it could garner interest from the likes of Google and private equity firms, according to Reuters.

The company maintains a foothold in the fitness tracker market but it has stumbled in its recent move to smartwatches. Additionally, Fitbit’s business continues to suffer and it faces steep competition from device makers such as Apple. Fitbit has a market value of about $1 billion.

— CNBC’s Alex Sherman contributed to this report.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/28/2019 12:45:03 PM
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Google-parent Alphabet is in talks to buy smartwatch maker Fitbit

October 28, 2019
Lauren Feiner @lauren_feiner
  • Google’s parent company Alphabet made a bid to acquire Fitbit, a source familiar with the matter told CNBC.
  • Fitbit’s stock was halted Monday after surging 18% and resumed trading, up about 27% as of the afternoon.
  • The purchase would pit Alphabet against Apple, which is currently a major player in the health and fitness tracking space with its popular smartwatch.

Google parent company Alphabet made an offer to acquire Fitbit, a source familiar with the matter told CNBC Monday. Reuters first reported that Alphabet made the offer to buy Fitbit. Fitbit’s stock was halted after skyrocketing more than 18%.

The stock resumed trading and was up about 27% Monday afternoon, adding more than $280 million to its market cap to bring it around $1.4 billion. Fitbit shares are now up more than 10% for 2019.

It’s unclear how much Alphabet offered to buy Fitbit.

The deal would make Alphabet a player in the wearable fitness tracking space, competing against the likes of Apple, which recently released a new version of its popular smartwatch. Google licenses its Wear operating system to companies like Fossil, but does not currently make its own smartwatch.

Google has described its hardware strategy as “ambient computing,” meaning users should be able to access its services wherever they are. Buying Fitbit could be a play to make Google services a greater part of customers’ lives and measure up to Apple in the health and fitness space. Google hired former Geisinger Health CEO David Feinberg last year to consolidate its healthcare strategy. The company announced several new hardware products earlier in October, including the new Pixel 4 smartphone.

For Fitbit, support from Alphabet could grant a much-needed boost for the company, which has seen Apple take over about half of the global smartwatch market in 2018 in terms of units shipped, according to Strategy Analytics. In its July earnings release, Fitbit lowered its guidance for the year, citing weaker-than-expected sales of its new lightweight watch.

Representatives from Alphabet and Fitbit were not immediately available to comment.

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