Google and Fitbit proudly announced yesterday that the $ 2.1 billion acquisition was completed after several months of scrutiny. Unfortunately for that deal, however, there may still be legal issues, as Google did not wait for approval from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) or Australian regulators before completing the Fitbit acquisition.
Between the announcement from November 2019 and yesterday’s apparent end, Google was facing several investigations regarding the agreement. The most important of these was from the EU, which approved at the end of December. The DOJ also had an ongoing investigation, but never gave Google approval before yesterday̵
Ryne Hager av Android Police found out how Google managed to get around this. The DOJ only had a certain period of time to give its approval or rejection of the agreement, but that period expired without a final answer. As a result, Google simply continued with the lack of yes or no. At this time, it is unclear whether the US DOJ will take any legal action against Google and Fitbit.
A Google spokesman said regarding the DOJ investigation:
We followed the DOJ’s comprehensive review over the last 14 months, and the agreed waiting period expired without their objection. We continue to be in touch with them and we are committed to answering further questions. We are confident that this agreement will increase competition in the highly crowded market for laptops, and we are committed to planning to implement globally.
Where Google actually the jump gun was in Australia. There, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission still had an ongoing ongoing investigation into the agreement, which was expected to end in March this year. The ACCC had cited competition concerns as the reason for trying to block the deal, and was concerned that Google would “push out” Fitbit’s rivals. Of course, this statement largely ignored the monopoly that Apple has over the iOS laptop market.
At this point, the ACCC is looking at an “enforcement investigation” that could result in legal action over Fitbit and the Google agreement.
When the transaction was completed on January 14, 2021, before the ACCC had completed its investigation, this case has become an investigation of a completed merger. No further updates on the investigation will be made in this public register.
In another statement Android Police, the ACCC continues:
“Google’s decision to complete the acquisition of Fitbit before we completed the merger review means that we are now conducting an enforcement investigation. As a result, and depending on the results of our investigation, we will consider whether we will take legal action in this case, “said ACCC Leader Rod Sims.
In December, the ACCC decided that it would not accept a long-term behavioral commitment from Google, which sought to address competition concerns due to the great difficulty in effectively monitoring and enforcing the commitment.
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