#Asia Fossil Group to buy Vietnam’s Misfit for US$260M


The watchmaker aims to turn its watches and accessories into connected devices

Shine 2 Lifestyle, one of Misfit's products

Shine 2 Lifestyle, one of Misfit’s products

Fossil Group has agreed to acquire Vietnamese wearable fitness tracker producer Misfit for US$260 million.

Starting next year, the US-based watch company aims to incorporate the startup’s technology into its products, while continuing to produce Misfit’s own products. The acquisition is funded through cash and bank debt and is expected to be closed before the end of 2015.

“We believe it isn’t about function. It is about function and design and branding,” said Greg McKelvey, Chief Strategy Officer and Digital Officer, Fossil Group.

“We see tremendous growth opportunity and that a lot of our jewelry and watches could be connected devices,” he said, adding that the company is especially attracted to Misfit’s battery life innovation.

The acquisition will help invigorate Fossil’s product offerings after seeing flat volume shipments in the first half of the year.

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McKelvey said that Misfit’s employees — spread across San Francisco, Ho Chi Minh City and Seoul — will be given employment offers by Fossil.

“If you don’t have a brand it is hard to be legit in this space,” said Sonny Vu, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfit, who will become President and CTO of Connected Devices for Fossil Group.

Competition in the wearables market has toughened up in the past with Xiaomi releasing cheaper variants and Apple coming up with its Apple Watch.

The startup had previously partnered with Speedo and Swarovski, and is looking to take advantage of Fossil’s brand line-up which includes Michael Kors, Diesel and DKNY.

Selling 50 million watches and accessories each year in 150 countries, Misfit’s distribution and manufacturing capability will also benefit from the deal.

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Misfit was launched in 2011. Its first product came out in 2013 following a successful Indiegogo campaign.

Within three rounds of funding, the startup has raised around US$63 million from Xiaomi, GGV Capital, JD.com and  Horizons Ventures, as well as Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners

Image Credit: Misfit.com

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