UK Competition Regulator Approves Amazon’s $1.7 Billion Acquisition of iRobot, the Maker of Roomba
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has given the green light to Amazon’s planned acquisition of iRobot, the renowned manufacturer of the Roomba vacuum cleaner. The CMA stated that it has concluded the deal does not raise any competition concerns within the UK market.
Amazon expressed satisfaction with the CMA’s decision and affirmed its commitment to supporting regulatory bodies in their work. The company looks forward to similar positive decisions from regulators in other jurisdictions.
Earlier in April, the CMA had initiated a “Phase 1” investigation into the acquisition, which was announced by Amazon in August of the previous year. Amazon’s intention behind the deal is to expand its range of smart-home devices, including products like the Alexa voice assistant, smart thermostats, security devices, wall-mounted smart displays, and the robotic dog Astro.
Regulators in both the UK and the US remain cautious about major tech companies acquiring smaller competitors, particularly those with substantial access to user data. Such deals typically require remedies to address potential antitrust concerns.
iRobot’s CEO, Colin Angle, described the CMA’s decision as a significant milestone and stated that both companies are collaborating with other relevant regulators as part of the ongoing review process.
Following the news, iRobot’s shares surged by 18%, while Amazon’s stock experienced a minor decline of 1.2%.
According to Alex Haffner, a competition partner at UK law firm Fladgate, the CMA’s assessment of this deal was less contentious compared to other tech-related cases due to iRobot’s relatively low market share.
The European Union’s antitrust regulators are expected to announce their decision on the acquisition by July 6.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is anticipated to file an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, is also examining the iRobot deal. Amazon has confirmed its compliance with the agency’s document requests but has not provided any details regarding the timing of the FTC’s review.
In a previous deal, when Amazon acquired primary care provider One Medical for $3.5 billion in February, the FTC issued a warning letter expressing specific concerns about the transaction but took no further action at that time.