Fitbit Falls as Australia Antitrust Agency Rejects Google Proposal

Fitbit shares fell after Australian regulators rejected Google's proposal to address antitrust concern about its plan to buy the digital health tracker.
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Fitbit  (FIT) - Get Report shares fell after Australian regulators rejected Google's  (GOOGL) - Get Report proposal to address antitrust concern about its plan to buy the digital health tracker.

Google had submitted concessions meant to ease competition concern from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The agency in June said the combination would give Alphabet's Google too much access to people's data. 

The agency's decision is an impediment to the merger, which was first proposed in late 2019. Fitbit shares at last check dropped 5.7% to $6.83. 

The New York Post reported that Google had offered to abide by court-enforceable rules governing its behavior toward rival wearables makers. The Mountain View, Calif., tech giant also promised not to use health data for advertising and said it would enable rivals to access its data in certain circumstances, the paper reported.

The regulator mandated that Google not use any measured body data or fitness activity location data in or for Google ads. Rather, the company would hold that dataset separate from the company's trove of other data. 

The commission also mandated that Google offer every Australian user the choice to grant or deny Google's other services access to data stored in their Google or Fitbit accounts, among other restrictions. 

While the commission declined to accept the current proposal, it extended its decision date on the proposed tieup until March 25. 

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that 10 states filed a joint lawsuit against Google and Facebook  (FB) - Get Report. The suit called the two tech giants co-conspirators that agreed to "cooperate and assist one another" if they ever faced an investigation into their agreement to work together in online advertising. 

Ten Republican attorneys general, led by Texas, have alleged that the two companies cut a deal in September 2018 in which Facebook agreed not to compete with Google's online advertising tools in return for special treatment when it used them.