Google parent company Alphabet is eyeing the fitness tracker and smartwatches market and has made an offer to acquire Fitbit, according to media reports Monday.
Both Reuters and CNBC reported that Alphabet made a bid to acquire Fitbit, citing sources familiar with the matter. The exact price that Google has offered for Fitbit could not be learned, Reuters reported.
Spokespeople for Google and Fitbit both declined to comment.
Fitbit’s stock was halted after skyrocketing more than 18%, according to CNBC. The stock resumed trading and was up more than 23% Monday afternoon, adding more than $250 million to its market cap to bring it to around $1.4 billion. Fitbit shares are now up more than 6% for 2019, according to CNBC.
If Alphabet acquired the U.S. wearable fitness tracking company it would put it in direct competition with Apple, which recently released a new version of its smartwatch.
Industry analysts have noted that Fitbit's value may lie in its health data, as the company's devices now collect data such as number of steps taken, sleep duration and heart rate, from 27.3 million users.
Google has described its hardware strategy as "ambient computing," CNBC reports, and buying Fitbit could help make Google services a greater part of customers’ lives and give it a foothold in the health and fitness space
Fitbit has been partnering with health insurers and deepened its reach into healthcare with a new premium subscription service for users that offers coaching and personalized insights mined from its health data. In February 2018, the company acquired Twine Health, a Boston-based company that combines artificial intelligence with personalized coaching to assist patients with diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
Fitbit also recently inked a multiyear partnership with pharmaceutical giants Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer to accelerate the detection and diagnosis of atrial fibrillation to reduce the risk of life-threatening events such as stroke.
That collaboration will rely on Fitbit's afib detection software, which the tech giant plans to submit to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for regulatory review and approval.
Fitbit cut its 2019 revenue forecast in July, blaming disappointing sales of its newly launched cheapest smartwatch Versa Lite, Reuters reported.
In August, Fitbit said it had signed a contract with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers and services in a health program it said could reach up to 1 million users.