Feds Step Up $2.1B Google-Fitbit Probe

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has stepped up its investigation of Google’s proposed US$2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit, a deal that critics say could pose increased threats to customer privacy, two sources close to the situation told The Post.

In a move that typically signals increased scrutiny for a merger, regulators are now conducting a so-called second request review, asking for more documents and taking additional time to investigate the deal, the sources said.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who heads the DOJ’s antitrust division, has recused himself from the case because of his past history as a lobbyist working for Alphabet’s Google.

Now, it is the Attorney General William Barr who is issuing civil investigative demands (CIDs) to parties in the investigation and will be more directly involved in the review than he would be normally, sources said.

Barr told the Wall Street Journal in a March 23 article that his investigation of Google’s overall anti-competitive behavior in suppressing competition would be wrapped up by early summer.

“One would think Google would be a lower priority for the government until Corona clears,” Seth Bloom of Bloom Strategic Counsel told The Post. “But given Barr’s statement, it seems like he hasn’t been deterred.”

Full Content: New York Post

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