Saturday, July 20, 2024

The acquisition of iRobot by Amazon is poised to be thwarted by the European Union.

iRobot makes the Roomba

The European Union’s competition watchdog is poised to block Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot, a vacuum cleaner manufacturer, according to information obtained by the BBC. This setback for the tech giant comes after the UK government’s competition watchdog had previously approved the purchase, noting Amazon’s “modest” presence in the UK market with several existing significant competitors. Amazon had sought to acquire iRobot, known for its Roomba cleaner, in a $1.7 billion (£1.4 billion) takeover deal in August 2022, aiming to expand its presence in the smart home appliances market. Concerns raised by regulators include the potential impact on competition, especially if Amazon were to favor the Roomba over other vacuum brands on its e-commerce platform. The European Commission (EC), the EU’s competition regulator, initiated an investigation in July and is expected to reach a decision by the legal deadline of February 14, pending consensus among the commission’s 27 top political leaders for the rejection. The news of the EU’s intentions caused a 40% drop in iRobot shares during after-hours trading. Despite the potential boon the acquisition represented for Amazon, struggling with sales declines, critics argue that blocking the deal may limit consumer options and competition in the home robotics sector. Roomba models currently retail for around £1648 in the UK. Amazon declined to comment on the matter.

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