Nokia moves into digital health with £130 million acquisition of Withings

Nokia is buying French fitness technology company Withings for €170 million (£130 million) in cash, it revealed on 26 April.

The move, which Nokia described in a statement as a means to “accelerate entry” into the digital health market, will see the French company join the Nokia Technology division, which also includes Nokia’s virtual-reality Ozo camera.

“We have said consistently that digital health [is] an area of strategic interest to Nokia, and we are now taking concrete action to tap the opportunity in this large and important market,” Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said in a statement.

“With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

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Withings was founded in 2008 and today claims 200 employees across Paris, Hong Kong and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company makes a range of fitness trackers, bio-monitors and smart weighing scales.

“We’ve been impressed with the plans the Nokia team has shared with us, both for preventive health and patient care,” said Withings CEO Cédric Hutchings in a statement. “As soon as we close the deal, we can start working together to determine our way forward as one team with a broad but focused portfolio of incredible products and innovations.”

In 2014, Nokia sold its mobile phone division to Microsoft. Since then, it has largely kept out of consumer products. This acquisition, therefore, is an intriguing move towards consumer hardware, seemingly spurred by the rising interest in wearables and the Internet of Things.

The acquisition is expected to close in Q3 2016, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

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