Fitness band maker Fitbit is said to be in the process of acquiring Pebble, the company that kickstarted the smartwatch generation. Sources say the acquisition will cost between $35 million and $40 million, and will include the entire Pebble portfolio — including its intellectual property.
Pebble made a name for itself in 2012 when it launched its original smartwatch on Kickstarter. Its initial funding target was just $100,000, but by the time the project came to an end in May 2012, it had raised almost $10.3 million — a Kickstarter record at the time.
But it hasn’t been quite as easy for the Californian company in recent years. Strong competition from companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung have eaten away at Pebble sales, leaving the company with financial issues that have forced it to slash its workforce.
The struggle has left Pebble desperate to sell, and now it looks like it has finally found a buyer.
VentureBeat reports that Fitbit will acquire the company’s “intellectual property and wearable expertise” for up to $40 million. Much of that sum is expected to cover Pebble’s substantial debt, of which $25 million is owed to Silicon Valley Bank.
Just over a year ago, it was reported that watchmaker Citizen was interested in purchasing Pebble for a whopping $740 million — but Pebble chief executive Eric Migicovsky wasn’t interested in selling. Migicovsky also blocked a $70 million offer from Intel earlier this year.
If Pebble does indeed go to Fitbit for $40 million, then, it shows just how quickly the smartwatch maker has fallen from grace.