Fit­bit flexes mus­cles in NYSE de­but

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS - BY MAR­LEY JAY

Fit­bit flexed some mus­cle Thurs­day and its shares rock­eted al­most 50 per­cent higher in the first day of trad­ing for the fit­ness track­ing gear maker.

Fit­bit’s ini­tial public of­fer­ing priced at US$20 per share, bring­ing in more than US$730 mil­lion and valu­ing Fit­bit at about US$4.1 bil­lion in to­tal. The com­pany had al­ready raised its stock price ex­pec­ta­tions this week and said the IPO would in­clude ad­di­tional shares, but the of­fer­ing still sur­passed its es­ti­mates.

The com­pany makes de­vices that can be worn on the wrist or clipped to cloth­ing. They track steps taken, calo­ries burned and other data and can be synced up with smart­phones. Fit­bit also sells a Wi-Fi en­abled scale that tracks body mass and other data.

Fit­bit Inc. is the big­gest-selling com­pany in the young fit­ness track­ing gear in­dus­try. Sales surged to US$745 mil­lion in 2014, al­most tripled its to­tal from the pre­vi­ous year. Its first- quar­ter rev­enue this year tripled as well. In fil­ings with the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion, Fit­bit said it sold 10.9 mil­lion de­vices last year.

Mar­ket re­search com­pany CCS In­sight ex­pects that com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Fit­bit, Jaw­bone, Nike, Xaomi, Garmin and Mis­fit will ship 24 mil­lion fit­ness track­ers in the U.S. this year, and says that num­ber will dou­ble in 2018. But some fit­ness track­ers may al­ready face a big threat from an even newer prod­uct: smart watches from com­pa­nies like Ap­ple, Google and Sam­sung.

Gfk re­search group thinks smart watch sales will top fit­ness tracker sales this year, although it strong growth in fit­ness tracker sales. Gfk said more peo­ple will buy smart watches as mar­ket­ing grows and as the de­vices be­come more sim­i­lar to smart­phones.

Fit­bit sold a to­tal of 22.4 mil­lion shares, rais­ing US$448 mil­lion. Its stock­hold­ers sold another 14.2 mil­lion shares, worth about US$284 mil­lion.

The San Fran­cisco com­pany’s shares j umped US$ 9.68 to US$29.68 Thurs­day. The stock is trad­ing on the New York Stock Ex­change un­der the ticker sym­bol “FIT.”

Jaw­bone filed a pair of law­suits against Fit­bit re­cently. In May Jaw­bone said Fit­bit and a group of its for­mer em­ploy­ees who had jumped ship to join its ri­val stole trade se­crets, busi­ness plans and mar­ket re­search, among other things. Ear­lier this month Jaw­bone said es­sen­tially all of Fit­bit’s prod­ucts vi­o­late patents be­long­ing to Jaw­bone.

Jaw­bone has asked a judge to pre­vent Fit­bit from mak­ing and selling those prod­ucts. Fit­bit says it will de­fend it­self against both law­suits.

AP

Fit­bit CEO James Park shows off one of his de­vices as he poses for photos out­side the New York Stock Ex­change, be­fore his com­pany’s IPO, Thurs­day, June 18.

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