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Google Proceeds With Fitbit Deal, But Government Reviews Continue

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Google Proceeds With Fitbit Deal, But Government Reviews Continue

Google said it has completed its $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit Inc., a deal that would let the search giant push more deeply into the wearable-device and health-data businesses, as it continues to face antitrust scrutiny.

The announcement on the deal closing came after European Union antitrust officials last month approved the acquisition with conditions aimed at protecting users’ health data and preserving competition in the wearable-tech sector, clearing one of the deal’s hurdles. But other antitrust agencies are continuing to scrutinize the transaction, including in the U.S., meaning Google’s decision to move forward isn’t without regulatory risk.

“This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect Fitbit users’ privacy,” Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president for devices and services, said Thursday.

To appease EU regulators, Google pledged not to use Fitbit data for advertising purposes in Europe and to store such data separate from any other Google data used in ads.

It also told regulators it would allow users to link their Fitbit data to competing apps and committed to allowing wearable-device makers open access to functions of Google’s Android operating system.

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