Google had completed its $2.1 billion acquisition deal with Fitbit after months of regulatory scrutiny. But it may still have other legal hurdles to overcome.
The online search giant jumped the gun on an approval from the US Department of Justice and Australian watchdogs before it closed the Fitbit buyout.
The two companies announced started talks in November 2019. And they closed the deal last Thursday. Those times Google met several inquiries about the deal.
The most important inquiry was from the EU, which approved the buyout in late December.
The DOJ also had a continuing investigation. But it had yet to give Google approval before the announcement.
Android Police discovered how Google found a workaround.
The DOJ’s approval or disapproval on the deal had a tight deadline. That period lapsed without their answer.
So, Google proceeded—without a yes or a no. The US DOJ may or may not take legal action against Google and Fitbit.
“We complied with the DOJ’s extensive review for the past 14 months, and the agreed upon waiting period expired without their objection. We continue to be in touch with them and we’re committed to answering any additional questions. We are confident this deal will increase competition in the highly crowded wearables market, and we’ve made commitments that we plan to implement globally,” says Google.
Down Under was where Google took a leap.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had a continuing public investigation of the deal. And it was set to close in March 2021.
Citing anticompetition in its attempt to block the deal, the ACCC expressed concerns that Google would crush Fitbit’s rivals.
The ACCC is overseeing an investigation that might lead to legal action over the Google-Fitbit deal.
“As the transaction completed on 14 January 2021, before the ACCC had finished its investigation, this matter has become an enforcement investigation of a completed merger. No further updates on the investigation will be made on this public register,” said the ACCC.
“Google’s decision to complete its acquisition of Fitbit before we completed our merger review means we are now conducting an enforcement investigation. As a result, and depending on the results of our investigation, we will consider whether to take legal action on this matter,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
In December, the ACCC decided that it would not accept a long-term behavioural undertaking offered by Google that sought to address competition concerns because of the significant difficulties in effectively monitoring and enforcing compliance with the undertaking.