Google received good news from the European Commission earlier this week, as its acquisition of health tracking wearable company Fitbit was approved conditionally. But just because the $2 billion dollar deal has gained the thumbs-up from one regulatory body doesn't mean it's completely in the clear — Australia has threatened Google with a $400 million fine if the merger moves forward without approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The ACCC rejected an offer from Google that would have legally bound the company to limit the way it uses health data generated from the 27 million users of Fitbit's wearable devices. Instead of accepting Google's terms, the group is going to be continuing its own investigation before coming to a conclusion. That decision is expected to made by March 25.
If Google moves ahead with the merger before receiving ACCC approval, chairperson Rod Sims said that the group would consider legal action that could result in fines of around $400 million dollars for Google.
With this news, Australia joins the US in remaining undecided about the merger, expressing concerns about Google's ability and incentive to harm competition if it is allowed to take Fitbit under its wing. For its part, Google said the company was disappointed at the delay, but would continue to engage with the ACCC to answer questions about the deal.
- The Guardian