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HomeTechAmazon's iRobot Roomba acquisition under formal EU investigation

Amazon’s iRobot Roomba acquisition under formal EU investigation


European Union regulators have opened an official investigation into Amazon’s proposed $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot, the company behind the popular Roomba line of robotic vacuum cleaners.

In a press release, the European Commission said he’s busy that “the transaction would allow Amazon to restrict competition in the robot vacuum cleaner (‘RVC’) market and strengthen its position as a provider of the online marketplace.” The European Commission is also looking at how gaining access to iRobot user data can give Amazon an advantage “in the market for online marketplace services for third-party sellers (and related advertising services) and/or other markets related to data”.

“We continue to work through the process with the European Commission and are focused on addressing their questions and any concerns identified at this stage,” Amazon spokeswoman Alexandra Miller said in a statement. “Facing intense competition from other vacuum vendors, iRobot offers practical and innovative products. We believe Amazon can offer a company like iRobot the resources to accelerate innovation and invest in critical features while lowering prices for consumers.”

The European Commission will make a decision on whether to block the deal before November 15.

The EU investigation comes in an era of heightened regulatory scrutiny of Big Tech acquisitions. A decade ago, Meta (then known as Facebook) was able to take over Instagram and WhatsApp with relatively little oversight, but today, even the acquisitions relatively modest ones are attracting intense scrutiny. In addition to being forced to sell Giphy, Meta also had a fight on its hands to acquire virtual reality company Within (although finally succeeded).

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also investigating Amazon’s proposed purchase of iRobot. Last year, He Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC had requested that both companies provide documents with supporting information about the settlement. A group of Democratic lawmakers also called on the FTC to open a formal investigation. He financial times previously noted that such an investigation is likely to focus more on competition than privacy concerns.

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