The European Commission said on Tuesday that it has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Fitbit by Google, under the European Union (EU) Merger Regulation.
The move was prompted by concerns that the proposed transaction would entrench Google’s already strong market position in online advertising by increasing the amount of data that Google could use for personalization of the adverts, the commission said in a statement.
By acquiring Fitbit, Google would acquire the database maintained by Fitbit about its users’ health and fitness, as well as the technology to develop a database similar to Fitbit’s, said the Commission.
The data collected via wrist-worn wearable devices appears, at this stage of the Commission’s review of the transaction, to be an important advantage in the online advertising markets, said the statement.
By increasing the data advantage of Google in the personalization of the ads it serves via its search engine and displays on other internet pages, it would be more difficult for rivals to match Google’s online advertising services.
Last week, CNBC reported that the bid for Fitbit, announced last November, would see Google compete with market leader Apple and Samsung in the fitness-tracking and smart-watch market, alongside others including Huawei and Xiaomi from China.
The report said the European Commission, following the end of its preliminary review on Aug. 4, would launch the probe to explore in depth the use of data in healthcare.