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Nokia buys health & fitness gear maker Withings in deal worth $192 million

By Roger Fingas

Nokia Technologies on Tuesday announced a planned takeover of health and fitness accessory maker Withings, in a deal valued at €170 million, or about $192 million.

The deal should close in the third quarter of 2016, and see Withings absorbed into Nokia. The latter's CEO, Rajeev Suri, said that the deal is connected to a "strategic interest" in health, as well as "strengthening its position in the Internet of Things."

Withings makes a variety of health- and fitness-related products. It's perhaps best known for its smartscales, as well as the Activite, an iPhone-compatible smartwatch that looks and works like a conventional timepiece while still offering sleep and fitness tracking.

Since selling its mobile phone division to Microsoft, Nokia has mostly been focused on telecommunications infrastructure, and developing and exploiting patents. Buying Withings may allow the company to dip a toe back into the consumer marketplace, although Withings isn't as well-known a brand in the health and fitness space as Fitbit, Garmin, or Apple.

The mobile phone division did not fare well at Microsoft, which ended up cutting many thousands of former Nokia jobs as Windows phones failed to gain much traction, and the company as a whole worked to redirect its business strategy. Windows phones are still available, but control a tiny fraction of the smartphone market.

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