Google will likely win EU approval for its $2.1 billion Fitbit deal

Regulators were concerned the deal would give Google an unfair advantage.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

It looks like EU antitrust investigators will approve Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit acquisition after all. According to Reuters, Google made a few concessions today, and it is now on track to win EU approval. The changes are meant to address fears that the acquisition could give the search giant too much power.

Google announced its plan to buy FitBit in November 2019. The all-cash deal was scheduled to close this year, but it will need regulator approval first. In August, we learned that EU antitrust investigators were looking at the deal. Officials were “concerned” that the acquisition would bolster Google’s dominance in online advertising by giving it even more personalized consumer data.

Now, Google has reportedly offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads and tighten the monitoring of that process, Reuters says. The company also formalized its commitment to supporting other wearable manufacturers on Android and allowing Fitbit users to choose third party services through APIs, Google said in a statement. Those third parties will have access to Fitbit users’ data, as long as those users consent.

Those are relatively minor concessions, but this isn’t quite a done deal. EU officials will now collect feedback from competitors and consumers before accepting Google’s concessions. There’s a chance that Google will have to meet additional demands. Either way, the Commission will decide on the deal by December 23rd.

Meanwhile, in the US, Google will have to appease both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ). The company is also facing a broader review of competition. The DOJ is preparing an antitrust case against the company, and a dozen states are expected to join that DOJ lawsuit.