European Commission Delays Decision on Amazon’s Acquisition of iRobot

amazon merger

European Union (EU) antitrust regulators have reportedly put a temporary halt to their investigation into Amazon‘s $1.7 billion acquisition of robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot.

The European Commission (EC), responsible for enforcing competition laws in the European Union, delayed its decision on the deal due to the absence of crucial information from the involved companies, Reuters reported Monday (Sept. 11).

The EC had set a deadline of Dec. 13 for its decision on the merger between Amazon and iRobot, according to the report. However, the investigation has been put on hold as the companies failed to provide important requested information in a timely manner. This procedural delay is a common practice when parties involved in a merger fail to meet the Commission’s information requirements.

The regulator opened its in-depth investigation into Amazon’s proposed acquisition of iRobot on July 6, saying at the time that it had identified initial competition concerns and would investigate them in greater depth.

“Amazon is both an online marketplace and a retailer,” Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president in charge of competition policy at the EC, said when announcing the launch of the in-depth investigation. “We are concerned that, by acquiring iRobot, Amazon may use such dual role to foreclose access by iRobot’s rivals to its marketplace. With our in-depth investigation, we will also investigate whether Amazon would use data collected by iRobot to strengthen its position as online marketplace provider.”

An Amazon spokesperson told PYMNTS at the time in an emailed statement that the company continues to work with the EC, aiming to address its questions and concerns.

“iRobot, which faces intense competition from other vacuum cleaner suppliers, offers practical and inventive products,” the spokesperson said. “We believe Amazon can offer a company like iRobot the resources to accelerate innovation and invest in critical features while lowering prices for consumers.”

Amazon announced its plans to purchase iRobot for $1.7 billion in August 2022, noting that the completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

iRobot CEO Colin Angle said at the time: “Amazon shares our passion for building thoughtful innovations that empower people to do more at home, and I cannot think of a better place for our team to continue our mission.”