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EU Sends Amazon’s $1.65 Billion Bid To Buy iRobot For In-Depth Probe

 |  July 6, 2023

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust watchdog, confirmed on Thursday its investigation into Amazon’s $1.7 billion proposed acquisition of robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot. 

The Commission has opened a full-scale inquiry into the merger amid concerns the deal may reduce competition in the market for robotic vacuum cleaners and strengthen Amazon’s position as an online marketplace provider.

The proposed transaction was notified to the Commission on June 1 2023 and the Commission now has 90 working days, until November 15 2023, to take a decision. The opening of the in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

According to EU antitrust regulators, “Amazon’s $1.7 billion acquisition of robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot may reduce competition and strengthen Amazon’s position as an online marketplace provider.” The acquisition, which was announced in August of last year, would add iRobot’s Roomba robot vacuum to Amazon’s portfolio of smart devices, which include the Alexa voice assistant, smart thermostats, security devices and wall-mounted smart displays.

Related: Amazon Faces Full-Scale EU Antitrust Probe Over iRobot Acquisition

In response to the investigation, Amazon has stated, “The vacuum cleaner market is very competitive, with lots of Chinese players.” The group also operates a marketplace activity, allowing individuals and distribution companies to conduct their purchase and selling transactions for goods and services, per Bloomberg. 

The Commission is investigating the potential impact of the deal, which has sparked a backlash from privacy activists. The Commission will now carry out an in-depth investigation into the effects of the proposed transaction to determine whether its initial competition concerns are confirmed. The Commission closely cooperated with other competition authorities during the initial investigation and will continue such cooperation during the in-depth investigation.

The EU competition enforcer’s decision confirmed a Reuters story last month and came a month after the UK antitrust agency cleared the deal unconditionally after a preliminary review. Amazon. com Inc.’s $1.65 billion bid to buy vacuum cleaner maker iRobot Corp. faces an in-depth European Union investigation amid concerns the takeover could hurt competition.

Now, authorities will be investigating and determining whether the Amazon – iRobot acquisition will actually reduce competition in the marketplace. Regardless of the outcome, the Commission’s move shows that regulators are taking the issue of Big Tech’s influence with serious consideration. It will be interesting to see how the Commission’s investigation plays out and what it reveals about the current state of competition between Big Tech companies.