Instead of building a platform from scratch, sometimes it’s better to just buy one. Or two. That’s the route Under Armour is taking by snapping up MyFitnessPal and Endomondo, two popular diet and fitness-tracking apps, for a reported $560 million.
That isn’t the first big buy for Under Armour—it bought MapMyFitness in 2013 for $150 million. The company has its sights set on Nike, which currently sells a FuelBand wearable and has an accompanying app in the Play Store.
This move makes recent rumor that Under Armour will partner with HTC for a wearable product an important piece of its future plans. The recent buzz says it would be fitness band, but the Bloomberg report says it’s insiders are hearing that it will be an actual smartwatch. Whatever it is, HTC will have a huge spotlight at Mobile World Congress to show it off, when it will also unveil its One M9 smartphone.
Under Armour already has its own app: UA Record for Android and iOS. Expect it to fold MyFitnessPal and Endomondo into its own app at some point, even though it says the companies will still work out of their own offices for now. Another option is a re-launch of an entirely new service altogether, combining the best attributes from all three.
Under Armour announced the deals during its fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, along with a 31 percent growth in sales.
Why this matters: Wearables are all the rage, with plenty of new bandwagon-jumpers at CES trying to get in on the action. But few can match the cash and brand cachet Under Armour has to throw at this. Even if we don't see an Under Armour-branded product at Mobile World Congress, such a device may not be far off.