Google's wearables platform hasn't been as successful as Android itself, but that isn't stopping Google from investing in it further. Today Fossil has announced that Google is acquiring undetermined "smartwatch technology" it is currently developing for a cool $40 million. Together with the IP acquisition, Google is also picking up part of Fossil's research and development team, with the sale set to close this month.
Precise details aren't certain, and we're as curious as you are when it comes to the nature of this new technology, still allegedly in development. All we know is Fossil and Google seem to think it's a pretty big deal. "We’ve built and advanced a technology that has the potential to improve upon our existing platform of smartwatches." said Greg McKelvey, Executive Vice President, and Chief Strategy and Digital Officer at Fossil Group. "Together with Google, our innovation partner, we’ll continue to unlock growth in wearables."
For context, Fossil Group owns and licenses a sizable chunk of fashion-oriented watch (and smartwatch) brands, including Misfit, Skagen, Armani, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, and Fossil itself, among a larger list. The company invested heavily in Google's Wear OS for its own products, so it's not surprising it would be working as closely with Google as this announcement implies.
We've speculated at the coming death of Wear OS, but Google's Stacey Burr, Vice President of Product Management for Wear OS, reiterated the company's long-term plans for the platform in the press release detailing the IP purchase: "The addition of Fossil Group’s technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry."
If any more information is revealed, we'll be sure to let you know. The full press release announcing the sale is embedded just below.
Fossil Group Enters Agreement To Sell Select Smartwatch Technology To Google
Transaction Unlocks Growth Opportunities for Fossil Group’s Wearables Business
RICHARDSON, Texas – January 17, 2019 – Today, Fossil Group (NASDAQ: FOSL) announced its plan to sell to Google for $40 million intellectual property (IP) related to a smartwatch technology currently under development by Fossil Group. As part of the transaction, a portion of Fossil Group’s research and development (R&D) team currently supporting the transferring IP will join Google. Fossil Group retains more than 200 R&D team members to focus on innovation and product development.
The transaction showcases Fossil Group and Google’s shared investment in the wearables industry. In recent years, smartwatches have become Fossil Group’s fastest growing category. The company successfully developed and launched smartwatches across 14 of its owned and licensed brands.
“Fossil Group has experienced significant success in its wearables business by focusing on product design and development informed by our strong understanding of consumers’ needs and style preferences,” said Greg McKelvey, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Fossil Group. “We’ve built and advanced a technology that has the potential to improve upon our existing platform of smartwatches. Together with Google, our innovation partner, we’ll continue to unlock growth in wearables."
“Wearables, built for wellness, simplicity, personalization and helpfulness, have the opportunity to improve lives by bringing users the information and insights they need quickly, at a glance. The addition of Fossil Group’s technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry by enabling a diverse portfolio of smartwatches and supporting the ever-evolving needs of the vitality-seeking, on-the-go consumer,” said Stacey Burr, Vice President of Product Management, Wear OS by Google.
The transaction is expected to close this month.
About Fossil Group, Inc.
Fossil Group, Inc. is a global design, marketing, distribution and innovation company specializing in lifestyle accessories. Under a diverse portfolio of owned and licensed brands, our offerings include fashion watches, jewelry, handbags, small leather goods and wearables. We are committed to delivering the best in design and innovation across our owned brands, Fossil, Michele, Misfit, Relic, Skagen and Zodiac, and licensed brands, Armani Exchange, BMW, Chaps, Diesel, DKNY, Emporio Armani, kate spade new york, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, PUMA and Tory Burch. We bring each brand story to life through an extensive wholesale distribution network across approximately 150 countries and 500 retail locations. Certain press release and SEC filing information concerning the Company is also available at www.FossilGroup.com.