Google closes deal to buy Fitbit as Justice Dept probe continues

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Search and advertising giant Google has closed its deal to buy Fitbit, the companies said on Thursday, even as the Justice Department said it was continuing its probe of the $2.1 billion transaction.

The Justice Department, which sued Alphabet Inc’s Google in October for allegedly violating antitrust law in its search and search advertising businesses, said it “has not reached a final decision about whether to pursue an enforcement action”.

Google had said it was buying Fitbit, which makes a watch-like device to measure physical activity, as a way to enter the devices market and was hoping to address privacy concerns.

“We worked with global regulators on an approach which safeguards consumers’ privacy expectations,” Google said in a blog post.

“(That includes) a series of binding commitments that confirm Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be separated from other Google ads data.”

Google won EU antitrust approval last month for its Fitbit bid, after agreeing restrictions on how it will use customers’ health related data.

Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Jan Harvey

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