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Did Fitbit Try to Buy Rival Jawbone?

David Murphy

jawbone-up-fitness-tracker.jpgEarlier this week, Fitbit followed up its acquisition of smartwatch maker Pebble’s assets by buying another smartwatch startup Vector Watch, and according to a report in today's Financial Times, late last year, it also attempted to buy its main wearable rival, Jawbone.

According to the story, based on information from “several people familiar with the situation”, Fitbit expressed interest in a deal to acquire Jawbone’s assets, including its intellectual property. As part of the deal, the companies would also settle ongoing litigation between them. The two companies have been suing each other for patent infringement and theft of trade secrets for more than a year. The talks ended swiftly, however, when it became clear that Fitbit’s valuation fell way short of the $1.5bn (£1.2bn) that Jawbone was valued at a year previously.

Jawbone has since been seeking alternative suitors, and is now looking for alternative sources of finance as it looks to pivot from fitness tracking towards clinical devices. It is working on a health-monitoring wearable that would come with regulatory approval from the Federal Drug Administration.