Fitbit shares slide as Australia regulator questions Google tie-up

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Fitbit shares sagged as much as 6 percent Tuesday after Australian antitrust regulators threw yet another roadblock in front of its acquisition by Google.

Officials in the land Down Under rejected Google’s concessions meant to address competitive concerns over its planned $2.1 billion tie-up with the fitness giant.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had voiced concerns back in June that the acquisition would give Google too much access to people’s data, which would help it cement its dominance in both the health and online advertising markets.

In the US Google has been slapped with three antitrust lawsuits by the feds and various state Attorney Generals in recent weeks accusing it of unfairly dominating the lucrative digital ad market, including through allegedly anticompetitive pacts with tech giants Facebook and Apple.

Google had offered to abide by court enforceable rules governing how it behaved toward rival wearable manufacturers; pledged to not use health data for advertising and said it would allow competitors to access its data in certain circumstances.

But the Aussies didn’t buy it. “The ACCC continues to have concerns that Google’s acquisition of Fitbit may result in Fitbit’s rivals, other than Apple, being squeezed out of the wearables market, as they are reliant on Google’s Android system and other Google services to make their devices work effectively,” the regulator said.

Though the concessions had earned approval in Europe and the US, the ACCC said that it “must reach its own view” of the deal “given the importance of both companies to commerce in Australia.”

Fitbit shares were down 4.6 percent Tuesday morning, trading at $6.90.

With Post wires.



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