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Under Armour, Samsung may explore wearable fitness devices

Under Armour might start collaborating with smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Co. on wearable fitness devices, according to a South Korean news report.

Yonhap News Agency cited market sources in a Wednesday report that said the de facto heir of the South Korean Samsung Group, Lee Jay-yong, met with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank this month in Seoul.

The two business leaders "reportedly discussed ways of countering impact from collaboration between Apple Inc. and Nike Inc. in the wearable devices sector," Yonhap News said.

An Under Armour spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

"Samsung does not comment on rumors or speculation," said Chris Donohue, a Samsung spokesman, in an email.

The Baltimore-based sports apparel maker entered the fast-emerging fitness technology market late last year when it acquired MapMyFitness, maker of the MapMyRun and MapMyRide mobile applications and websites, for $150 million. The sports brand had said it would integrate MapMyFitness applications into its Armour39 devices, but it planned also to keep the application open to all devices.

Samsung is positioning itself to compete with Apple's first wearable device, expected to be introduced later this year, the report said. In September, Samsung released the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which works on Google Inc.'s Android platform.

Apple, meanwhile has been in a years-long partnership with Nike, offering products such as the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, which includes a shoe sensor that tracks data such as distance and connects with Apple products, and FuelBand, a wearable device that also links to Apple products.

Under Armour shares fell $1.03 to $57.34 in Wednesday's trading.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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