Fitbit is in “advanced talks” to acquire smartwatch pioneer Pebble, according to Financial Times (FT), with the fitness band market leader looking to get the better end of the deal.
Fitbit will apparently pay “a low price” for Pebble, with the sums involved “not material” for Fitbit. While Pebble has struggled, it has also been shopping itself around to potential buyers with a higher – $200 million – price tag, but to no avail.
A deal does make some sense: while Fitbit has a leadership position in the health band market, it has relatively limited exposure to smartwatches. Pebble’s position is the opposite way around, and Pebble also has significant intellectual property which could appeal to Fitbit.
The FT noted that Pebble has “one of the largest app catalogues of any wearable device and can be paired with both iPhones and Android”. According to recent IDC numbers, it is also still a top-five smartwatch player.
In its most recent quarterly results, Fitbit itself acknowledged that it is not all plain sailing, noting: “We continue to grow and are profitable, however not at the pace previously expected”.
It was suggested that while Pebble’s employees are expected to make the transition to Fitbit, its existing product line is unlikely to survive the transition.