A PYMNTS Company

Lawmaker Probes FTC and EU’s Role in Amazon’s Failed iRobot Acquisition

 |  May 2, 2024

The Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Republican Representative James Comer, has announced an investigation into the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) involvement with the European Commission regarding Amazon.com’s failed attempt to acquire iRobot Corp in a $1.4 billion deal. According to Reuters, the move comes after Amazon and iRobot abandoned their merger plans in January amidst opposition from regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

Comer expressed concerns that the FTC’s actions could harm America’s standing in the global personal robotics market while potentially benefiting foreign competitors, particularly those based in China. In a letter to the FTC, he requested documents shared with the European Commission related to the collapsed deal.

Following the dissolution of the proposed merger, iRobot unveiled a significant restructuring plan, including slashing approximately 31% of its workforce, or 350 jobs. Additionally, Colin Angle, the company’s founder, stepped down as CEO.

Related: Whose Failure Is the Failed Amazon/iRobot Merger?

Amazon cited regulatory hurdles in the European Union as the primary reason for the deal’s failure. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, indicated that their investigation revealed concerns that the acquisition would allow Amazon to limit access to iRobot’s competitors, potentially stifling competition in the market.

Sources revealed that the FTC was on the verge of rejecting Amazon’s bid before the companies announced their decision to abandon the deal. Amazon had announced its intention to acquire iRobot in August 2022, aiming to bolster its portfolio of smart home devices and expand into the virtual healthcare sector.

Source: Reuters