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Wearable Tech

Fossil to buy fitness band maker Misfit for $260 million

Misfit will help the traditional watchmaker better compete with Apple and Fitbit in the smart-fitness category.

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Misfit offers a range of activity trackers with prices between $20 and $100.

Josh Miller/CNET

Fossil Group on Thursday said it will acquire Misfit, a wearable-tech startup focused on fitness trackers, for $260 million.

The deal weds Fossil's fashion and watch-making know-how with Misfit's technology, and underscores the growing importance of wearable products. It's an area that has drawn heavy hitters from both sides, including tech giant Apple and luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer. Fossil could tap into Misfit's resources to build fitness trackers that are more aesthetically appealing.

"With the acquisition of Misfit, Fossil Group will be uniquely positioned to lead the convergence of style and technology and to become the fashion gateway to the high-growth wearable technology and connected device markets," Kosta Kartsotis, chief executive officer of Fossil Group, said in a press release.

Fossil, based in Richardson, Texas, makes watches and jewelry using its namesake brand as well as Skagen and Zodiac, and makes watches for other brands including Adidas, Emporio Armani, DKNY and Diesel.

Sonny Vu, the chief executive and co-founder of Misfit, will join Fossil Group as a member of the company's executive leadership team where he will serve as president and chief technology officer of connected devices.

"We are thrilled to join forces with Fossil Group to usher in the next era of wearables where elegance, beauty and long-lasting wearability are paramount," said Vu.

Last month, Fossil introduced a new line of connected watches and activity trackers. It was the company's first entry into the already crowded connected-wearable market.

Misfit, which started in Vietnam and the US at the same time, currently offers a range of activity trackers with prices between $20 and $100. Smartphone maker Xiaomi was among the Chinese companies that participated in a $40 million investment in Misfit in December 2014. The purchase of Misfit will help Fossil further compete with companies like Fitbit, Apple and Jawbone. Fossil said it expects the deal to close by the end of the year.