The company that started the smartwatch craze is in talks over a $40m acquisition by Fitbit

Emma Haslett
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Fitbit is said to be buying Pebble for $40m (Source: Getty)

A strange - and rapidly deleted - tweet by smartwatch maker Pebble has appeared to confirm (or failed to deny, anyway) rumours it is being bought by one of its biggest rivals.

Reports by The Information suggested Pebble, the Kickstarter-funded wearables maker which kicked off the smartwatch craze back in 2012 when it raised over $10m (£8m), was in talks with Fitbit over a massive buyout.

Tech blog Techcrunch said the company could be worth between $34m and $40m - although it also said the company had been courted by watchmaker Citizen in 2015, which was close to offering a rather chunkier $740m.

Although Pebble remained tight-lipped on the news, it did send out a tweet which failed to quash rumours - although that was later deleted.

In 2015 Pebble entered the record books when it smashed a $500,000 crowdfunding target for its second smartwatch, the Pebble Time, in 17 minutes. Just under 50 minutes into the campaign, it had raised $1m, and after seven hours it had raised $6.1m from close to 30,000 backers.

The company released the latest iteration of its smartwatch in October, but it has also been hit as the smartwatch sector became increasingly saturated by bigger rivals like the Apple Watch.

In March it laid off 40 people, about a quarter of its workforce, with chief executive Eric Migicovsky telling Tech Insider that the company had raised $26m on top of its Kickstarter campaign in debt and equity financing.

"We've definitely been careful this year as we plan our products," he said.

Pebble isn't the only one suffering: figures published in July by analyst IDC showed sales of Apple Watches fell 55 per cent in the second quarter, compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Fitbit has had its own problems: at the beginning of last month shares slumped 30 per cent after revenue forecasts fell well below analysts' expectations.

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