Nokia buys digital health company Withings for $191 million, moves into digital health products

Nokia, the Finnish mobile maker Nokia on Tuesday said that it had struck a deal to buy France’s Withings S.A. for 170 million euros ($191 million) in an effort to kick-start its re-entry into the consumer market and a move into digital health.

Withings’ products include weighing scales, thermometers, activity trackers, blood pressure monitors and baby monitors built on a digital platform.

“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. “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.”

In a blog post, Withings CEO Cedric Hutchings addressed how “perfectly aligned” the company goals are. “The Nokia vision of creating beautifully designed products that blend seamlessly into the everyday lives of real people echoes exactly [our ambitions]; we have a solid shared ground to build on.” Hutchings said that Nokia had expressed interest in “Preventive Health and Patient Care,” and assured Withings’ customers that its apps and products would continue “to work in the same way.”

Nokia, at one time was the biggest mobile maker in the world. However, its fortunes faded in the smartphone era, and in 2014 completed the sale of its smartphone division to Microsoft.

Withings will be part of the group’s small Nokia Technologies unit which includes its patent portfolio and some consumer products, including a virtual reality camera and a Nokia-branded tablet computer made by a third party.

The acquisition is set to be completed in the later half of 2016, subject to regulatory approval, after which Withings’ 200 employees will join Nokia Technologies, with Withings CEO Cedric Hutchings reporting to Nokia Technologies head Ramzi Haidamus.

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