Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit acquisition is getting closer scrutiny from EU regulators

From The Verge: Antitrust regulators and consumer advocacy groups are increasing their scrutiny of Google’s planned acquisition of fitness tracker firm Fitbit.

Google announced it was buying Fitbit last year for $2.1 billion and said it hoped to complete the deal some time in 2020. But it’s possible the acquisition will be delayed over fears about the search giant’s increased access to sensitive data from Fitbit’s hardware, including users’ heart rates, their fitness activity, and their sleep patterns.

The Financial Times reports that EU regulators have sent 60-page questionnaires to Google and Fitbit’s rivals, asking them to assess how the acquisition will affect the digital healthcare space; whether it will disadvantage fitness tracking apps hosted in Google’s Play Store; and how Google might use the data to profile users for its search and advertising business.

EU regulators have set a deadline of July 20th for their next decision regarding the deal. The trading bloc can choose to approve the deal, or ask for concessions from Google (regarding how Fitbit’s data is used, for example), or open a four-month investigation to fully explore concerns. The FT says the level of detail in the recent questionnaires sent to the companies’ rivals suggests an extended investigation could be in the works.

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