Nokia Acquires Wearable Device Maker Withings

The Finnish telecommunications company expands into wearable health and activity trackers by snapping up Withings for $192 million.

Nokia is expanding into the growing market for wearable devices by snapping up another European device maker.

The Finnish communications equipment and device maker announced today that it is acquiring wearable device maker Withings from France. Valued at €170 million, or $192 million, the deal is expected to close early in the third quarter.

Withings is best known for its wearable health and activity trackers, including the Activité Steel, which resembles a conventional timepiece. The company also produces a clip-on activity tracker, smart scale, connected thermometer, wake-up light and home security camera.

The company was founded by CEO Cédric Hutchings and chairman Eric Carreel in 2008. Withings employees 200 workers, spread across its offices in Paris, Hong Kong and Cambridge, Mass.

"Since we started Withings, our passion has been empowering people to track their lifestyle and improve their health and well-being," offered Hutchings, in a statement to the press. "We're excited to join Nokia and help bring our vision of connected health to more people around the world." Upon the deal's completion, Hutchings will head Nokia's new Digital Health business unit, the companies said.

For Nokia, Withings helps open up two white-hot technology markets: wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Rajeev Suri, president and CEO of Nokia, said in an April 26 announcement "that digital health was an area of strategic interest to Nokia, and we are now taking concrete action to tap the opportunity in this large and important market."

In a recent forecast from analyst firm Gartner, the company predicted that sales of wearables will jump 18.4 percent this year, reaching $28.7 billion. Last year, IndustryARC, a market research group based in India, predicted that the health wearables market would reach $41 billion by 2020.

Meanwhile, citing data from P&S Market Research, Nokia asserts that healthcare will be among the IoT verticals, with analysts expecting that the mobile health technology segment will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37 percent from 2015 through 2020.

"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 peoples' lives," continued Suri.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Tags: Nokia, wearables, wearables for work

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