European regulators are investigating Google’s proposed $2.1 billion takeover of Fitbit, the San Francisco-based wearable technology maker, the Financial Times reported.
Consumer and privacy groups have argued that the deal should be blocked because Fitbit will give its new owner more data, making it impossible for other providers to compete against the popular search engine and advertising business, the news service reported.
The European Union (EU) sent in-depth questionnaires to Google’s and Fitbit’s rivals to determine whether the merger could potentially hurt competition – specifically, whether fitness tracking apps in Google’s Play Store will suffer and whether the deal would provide Google with expanded profiling information to give its online search and advertising businesses an advantage, the report noted.
In a separate move, nearly two dozen consumer groups, including the European Consumer Organization (the Belgium-based umbrella group that represents 45 consumer agencies from 32 countries), and the Consumer Federation of America, the Washington, D.C. consumer interest nonprofit, sent out a warning about the transaction on Thursday (July 2).
“Regulators must assume that Google will in practice utilize the entirety of Fitbit’s currently independent unique, highly sensitive data set in combination with its own, particularly as this could increase its profits, or they must impose strict and enforceable limitations on data use,” they said in a joint statement.
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