Fitbit may buy smartwatch maker Pebble for its IP

The smartwatch market saw a big sales slump in the third quarter

Fitness wristband maker Fitbit is said to be close to a deal to acquire smartwatch maker Pebble, mainly for its intellectual property.

Fitbit is aiming to acquire Pebble’s assets particularly the PebbleOS, which has a large number of apps running on it and can be paired with both Apple’s iOS and Android, The Financial Times said Wednesday, citing several people close to the negotiations.

It is not clear how much Fitibit will be paying for the company. Both Pebble and Fitbit did not respond to requests for comment on the rumored acquisition. The Information also reported on a likely acquisition.

Pebble, which gave the smartwatch market a fillip in 2012 with a campaign on the crowdfunding Kickstarter platform, has veered around to a greater focus on fitness and other devices like a cellular-connected clip called Core. Its Time 2 and Pebble 2 were unveiled this year, adding a heart-rate monitor to the watches.

The company was due to ship Core early next year. The device can stream music, track workouts using GPS and integrates with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. Fitbit is unlikely to continue to manufacture the Pebble watches for very long after the acquisition, according to The Financial Times.

The acquisition comes even as the smartwatch market saw an annual decline of over 51 percent by units in the third quarter, according to IDC. In the third quarter, sales of Pebble devices slumped by 54 percent to 100,000 units from 200,000 devices a year earlier, according to IDC.

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John Ribeiro

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