Fitness device maker Fitbit Inc., is reportedly inching closer toward its acquisition of Pebble Technology Corp., the wearable startup, in a move that will bolster the former's growth and help it compete better with rival Apple Inc.
Fitbit is eyeing the purchase of software and not hardware assets belonging to struggling smartwatch maker Pebble for an alleged $34 million to $40 million. Fitbit is reportedly not taking on Pebble's debt and will apparently be selling off all its assets, which include server equipment and product inventory separately.
While an official confirmation is yet to be made, the fact that the deal will only focus on the software assets and Fitbit is supposedly looking to sell off the product inventory, it follows logic that consumers will need to bid adieu to the Pebble Core and Time 2 devices.
That's right. The Time 2 and Core from Pebble, which were announced in May 2016 along with the Pebble 2, will not be released.
What Happens Now?
To refresh your memory, the Pebble 2 and Time 2 smartwatches were crowdfunded through Kickstarter along with the Core, an Android-based cellular-connected clip accessory capable of tracking several activities.
While the Pebble 2 is already being shipped out to the Kickstarter backers and is available on store shelves, the Time 2 and Pebble Core are a different story altogether.
With Fitbit buying Pebble, it is the end of the road for Time 2 and Pebble Core as they are not software assets. Fitbit will cancel the two products according to people familiar with the matter.
What Happens To Backers?
Insiders familiar with the deal's workings reveal that Fitbit will issue refunds for all those who have preordered the Pebble Core and Time 2 devices or backed them on Kickstarter.
The Pebble stock held by the employees will become worthless after the Fitbit acquisition and the money will go toward Kickstarter refunds for the Pebble Core and Time 2, as well as vendors, equity investors and debt holders.
The Path Forward
After the acquisition the Pebble offices will shut. The decision to use the Pebble brand name will be up to Fitbit. Reports also say that Pebble engineers will relocate to Fitbit's San Francisco office. Fitbit has reportedly sent out offer letters to 40 percent of the Pebble software engineers; those who do not get offers will get severance packages.
Fitbit is said to be acquiring Pebble to get access to the latter's technologies and intellectual properties, which include the OS deployed for its devices. It is expected that Fitbit will use these technologies to its benefit to bring out new wearables in the near future and phase out the Pebble brand completely.