Google's Fitbit Deal Could Drive Real Growth For Search Giant, Analyst Hints

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Google's (GOOGL) - Get Report acquisiiton of Fitbit (FIT) - Get Report could be a much bigger deal for the search giant that investors are currently giving it credit for.

The $2.1 billion deal ($7.35 per share), representing a 20% premium over Fitbit's 30-day moving average, moved Fitbit shares up 15.61% to $7.14 apiece Friday. Google shares rose 0.73% to $1,268. An acquisition so small compared to Google's girth understandably won't move the stock very much.

The deal reflects a clear attempt on Google's part to continue pushing into hardware and to compete with Apple's (AAPL) - Get Report AppleWatch. Importantly, AppleWatch sales are looking strong and beat expectations on the company's quarterly earnings report this past week.

Furthermore, Google's gigantic global search platform potentially creates an easily identifiable synergy for the company to buy the device maker. And of course Google has all the cash it needs to invest in this business.

But RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney wrote in a Friday morning note the deal could potentially be more important for Google than it currently seems, as the wearables market at large is seen, by some, as a true growth market.

For wearables, "the market opportunity is real," Mahaney said.

Out of Mahaney's "top ten tech trends" for the next five to 10 years, "the emergence of Wearable Devices is one of those Top Trends, with a 5-10-year outlook." He thinks wearables remove friction internet users may sometimes experience when accessing apps and related services and can create a seamless and accessible environment for people to use personalized and tailored internet services.

"Wearable Devices can become a broad industry growth catalyst," Mahaney said. For context, Apple's wearables revenue grew 54% year-over-year to $6.52 billion in its third quarter 2019. While the business could drive meaningful growth for Google in a few years, it's not entirely clear that the total dollar amount in annual revenue would reach a mark that's incredibly material to Google's total revenue by that point. Still, the revenue contribution could certainly be notable.

Perhaps more importantly, Google could use the data gathered from fitbit users to enhance its Google Assistant efforts, Mahaney points out. This would be an important synergy.

The deal comes at a moment in Google's history when many view the stock as less of a growth stock than it used to be. Google trades at roughly 22 times next year's earnings and is seeing decelerating revenue and earnings growth, as its search business matures and becomes increasingly viewed as a "utility."

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