Nokia buys French smart watch maker in £130m cash deal

Mobile telecoms giant Nokia is stumping up €170m (£132m) in cash to take over French smart watch maker Withings.

The Paris-based outfit has made a name for itself as a pioneer of connected health devices, with watches a core part of a broader product offering. Its watches are designed in France, but manufactured in Switzerland and carry the ‘Swiss Made’ label.

Withings’ flagship ‘Activite Steel’ watch range tracks users’ movements with the aim of motivating them to reach their health goals, as well as recording sleep patterns when worn at night.

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Its cases are protected by scratch-proof domed sapphire glass and made from a stainless 316 L alloy steel resilient to time and corrosion. Straps are made of soft grain high quality Barenia leather from Haas Tanneries, supplier to the finest French haute couture houses, according to the firm.

As well as watches, Withings’ portfolio includes weighing scales, thermometers, blood pressure monitors, and home and baby monitors, all of which are underpinned by a sophisticated digital health platform that provides people with information to make smarter decisions about their health and well-being.

Nokia said it has bought the company to accelerate its entry into the digital health market. “Withings shares our vision for the future of digital health and their products are smart, well-designed and already helping people live healthier lives,” said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies.

Rajeev Suri, president and CEO of Nokia, said the acquisition was proof that the company means business in the digital health market. “With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives.”

Analysts forecast that mobile health, with a CAGR of 37%, will be the fastest growing health care segment from 2015-2020.

Withings was founded by Chairman Eric Carreel and CEO Cedric Hutchings in 2008. Today it employs 200 employees across its locations in Paris, France, Cambridge, US and Hong Kong. Its products are complemented by an ecosystem of more than a hundred compatible apps.

“Since we started Withings, our passion has been in empowering people to track their lifestyle and improve their health and wellbeing,” said Hutchings. “We’re excited to join Nokia to help bring our vision of connected health to more people around the world.”

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