Former cell phone giant Nokia has made a major play to re-enter the consumer electronics market with the recently announced purchase of fitness accessory maker Withings. The acquisition price is $191 million and will be completed in the third quarter of this year, dependent on regulatory approvals.
Focused on health
Withings offers a number health-related accessories like a smart scale.
Withings sports a robust ecosystem of health-focused accessories that tie into iOS devices, including the pictured Activite Pop tracker. The company has also made strides into other markets, like DIY security, with the Home surveillance camera.
In a letter written by Withings CEO Cédric Hutchings and Chairman Eric Carreel, the pair state that all applications and products from the company will continue to operate in the same way:
We at Withings have a big vision to create “smarter products for healthy living.” We’re thrilled about this opportunity to unite our teams to create a world-class group of innovative and committed professionals.
We’ve been impressed with the plans the Nokia team has shared with us both for Preventive Health and Patient Care. As soon as we close the deal, we can start working together to determine our way forward as one team with a broad but focused portfolio of incredible products and innovations.
After exiting the cell phone business in 2009 with a sale to Microsoft, Nokia has focused on its network business. But the acquisition signals that the company is ready to jump into the growing Internet of Things market.
Big players entering the fold
While the fitness market was once full of interesting startups, Nokia’s purchase shows once again that major players are interested in jumping in head first. Another fitness tracker maker, Misfit, was purchased by watchmaker Fossil in late 2015.
And a number of fitness-related software companies have been acquired by athletic apparel brands. MyFitnessPal and Endomodo were purchased by Under Armour in 2015 while Adidas acquired Runtastic in August. Asics nabbed RunKeeper back in February.
As of now, only two real major fitness hardware tracker companies remain – Fitbit and Jawbone. But that might not be the case for long.
Recently, our own Bryan M. Wolfe made a compelling case for why Apple should pull the trigger and purchase Jawbone to help improve its basic Health app.
An interesting argument for a new Apple acquisition