Nokia seals deal to buy Withings, opening up new digital health business

Nokia's return to the consumer tech business gathers momentum.

activiteu-steel-lifestyle1.jpg

The Activite Steel is part of Withings smartwatch range.

Image: Withings

Nokia has completed its acquisition of activity tracker and health-monitoring device company Withings earlier than had been expected.

Withings will now be the basis for Nokia's new digital health business unit, which will be led by Cédric Hutchings, formerly CEO of Withings. The new division, part of the Nokia Technologies business, will combine staff from Withings and Nokia's preventive health and patient care teams. The €170m deal had been due to close in the third quarter of this year.

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Withings' products include activity trackers and smartwatches as well as smart scales, thermometers, blood pressure monitors, home and baby monitors. Nokia said the new unit will "continue to design smarter products for healthy living".

Nokia Technologies president Ramzi Haidamus said: "The Nokia brand is synonymous with innovation, connectivity and consumer technology and the acquisition of Withings puts us in a perfect position to capitalize on the huge opportunity in the health space."

Nokia is still best known by many for being the mobile phone giant of the 1990s and early 2000s: it sold its handset business to Microsoft in 2014 (Microsoft subsequently dismantled most of that at the cost of a $7bn writedown). But recently Nokia - which has been mostly a networking company since the Microsoft deal - has been rebuilding its consumer devices business.

Last year it launched Ozo, a virtual reality camera designed for film and TV professionals and, as well as snapping up Withings, it has also signed deals that mean the Nokia brand will soon be appearing on smartphones and tablets again.

Later this month Nokia is holding an event in San Francisco to discuss its plans and showcase new products.

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