Alphabet Is in Talks to Buy Smart Watch Maker Fitbit

(Bloomberg) — Alphabet Inc. is in talks for a potential acquisition of smart watch maker Fitbit, a move that could bolster its hardware business while also increasing antitrust scrutiny, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Reuters reported the talks earlier on Monday, sending Fitbit’s stock up as much as 41%. Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat declined to comment on whether the two companies are in discussions.

Deliberations are ongoing and it may not result in a transaction, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

Google is under investigation for anti-competitive behavior by both the U.S. federal government and a collection of state attorneys general because of its online advertising and data collection practices, making any acquisition the company does likely to come under strict scrutiny.

At the same time though, the internet giant is looking to bolster its hardware business, which includes smart home speakers and devices, laptops and the Pixel line of smart phones. Fitbit could give Google a leg-up in the smart watch and health tracker space.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at gdevynck@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Liana Baker at lbaker75@bloomberg.net, ;Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Fion Li

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