Google and Fitbit proudly announced yesterday that their 2.1 billion acquisition had been completed after months of regulatory investigations unfortunately completed for the deal, although it may still face legal issues because the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) or The Australian regulatory authority was not awaiting approval.
Between the November 2019 announcement and yesterday’s apparent termination, Google faced several investigations into the deal. The most important of these was from the EU, which approved it in late December. DOJ also had an ongoing investigation, but never approved Google before yesterday’s announcement.
How Google managed to encircle it was discovered by Ryan Hazer of the Android Police. The DOJ only had a set time to approve or approve the contract, but that period passed without a final reply. As a result, Google has simply moved on based on a lack of yes or no. At this time, it is unclear whether the US DOJ will take any legal action against Google and Fitbit.
America hurts the competition and customers of the United States. The Department is committed to conducting this review appropriately, efficiently and expeditiously.
– Sicilyakang (siciliakong) January 14, 2021
A Google spokesman said about the DOJ investigation:
We complied with the DOJ’s extensive review over the past 14 months, and the waiting period ended without their objections. We continue to communicate with them and we are committed to answering any additional questions. We are confident that this agreement will increase competition in the overcrowded apparel market, and we are committed to what we plan to implement worldwide.
Google is really where the gun was fired in Australia. There was still an ongoing public investigation into the deal by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which was expected to close in March this year. The ACC cited competition concerns as the reason for trying to block the deal, with Google worried that Fitbit would “knock out” rivals. Of course, this statement must have ignored the exclusive issue of Apple iOS being under the wearable market.
At the moment, the ACC is looking for an “enforceable investigation” that could take legal action against Fitbit and Google.
On January 14, 2021, just before the end of the ACC investigation, as soon as the transaction was completed, the matter became an effective investigation of a full attachment. No further updates will be made to this public register regarding the investigation.
In a statement to Android Police, the ACC added:
“Google’s decision to complete the acquisition of Fitbite before we complete our consolidation review means we are now conducting an enforcement investigation. Consequently, we will consider whether to take legal action in this regard, depending on the outcome of our investigation,” said ACC Chairman Rod Sims.
In December, the ACC decided not to take the long-term behavioral initiatives offered by Google that sought to address competition concerns, due to significant difficulties in effectively monitoring and enforcing this oversight.
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