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Fitbit could buy Pebble for $40 million as smartwatch market slows

Pebble was the fifth largest smartwatch vendor in the most recent quarterly figures from IDC.

By Alexander Sword

Fitbit is set to acquire wearable rival Pebble to gain control of its intellectual property, in a deal that could be worth up to $40 million.

The deal is in closing stages but not completed, according to the Financial Times. VentureBeat reported that it could be sold for $34 to $40 million.

PebbleThe selling price, described as “low” by people involved in the deal, represents a decline for Pebble, which has apparently been looking for a seller for some time. The vendor launched with a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 that collected around $10 million to develop its first wearable.

Fitbit debuted on the stock market in June 2015, but has since seen its share price decline 74 percent. Currently it is worth $1.84 billion.

Pebble would give it access to technologies such as its higher battery life and, if the brand is retained, a loyal fanbase.


Fitbit launched its IPO in 2015.

Additionally, Pebble holds a high market share: in Q3 2016 IDC figures show that it was the fifth largest vendor behind Apple, Garmin, Samsung and Lenovo.

Pebble operates within what IDC classes as the smart wearable category, where the watch offers not only simple functionality such as fitness and health tracking but is capable of running third party applications.

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According to figures from IDC, this market will see 30.6 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years, achieving a 34.1 percent market share in 2020.
In 2016, smart wearables are set to sell 21.5 million units. Both Apple and Samsung are releasing new products in the latter part of 2016.

Other IDC figures show a worrying picture for vendors: that the smartwatch market is in decline overall, however. Total smartwatches shipped in Q3 2016 were 2.7 million, a 51.6 percent decrease compared to Q3 2015, although IDC notes that initial availability of the Apple Watch may have boosted the latter figure.

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