Nokia, the Finnish company that was once the world’s biggest mobile phone maker, has announced it will acquire French company Withings, which produces activity trackers as well as a range of other health and fitness-focused products.
The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016, sees Nokia paying 170 million euro ($191 million) for the French company, which will become a division of Nokia Technologies. The move is part of Nokia’s reinvention since it sold its smartphone business to Microsoft in 2014 for $7. 2 billion — a deal that has since seen Microsoft write off $7.6 billion against the purchase.
“We have said consistently 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,” Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said in a statement.
In February Suri revealed at Mobile World Congress that the company was not in a hurry to begin selling Nokia-branded smartphones again but said the company was developing its smartphone plan with the possibility of a new device being launched in 2016.
As well as its Activité range of fitness trackers — which look more like traditional watches than trackers from the likes of Fitbit — Withings sells a range of connected devices, including a connected weighing scales, smart camera and a bed sensor. It also sells a connected alarm clock called the Aura, and recently launched the smart thermostat and connected blood pressure monitor.
“With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand,” Suri said.
Withings was founded by Eric Carreel Cedric Hutchings in 2008 and is headquartered in France, with approximately 200 employees across its locations in France, the U.K., U.S. and Hong Kong. “Since we started Withings, our passion has been in empowering people to track their lifestyle and improve their health and wellbeing,” Hutchings said. “We’re excited to join Nokia to help bring our vision of connected health to more people around the world.”