Amazon appears poised to secure unconditional approval from the European Union for its $1.4 billion acquisition of iRobot, the renowned robot vacuum maker. Three individuals familiar with the matter disclosed this information on Thursday, shedding light on the regulatory journey of the high-profile deal.
Antitrust authorities globally have intensified their scrutiny of major technology firms acquiring smaller counterparts, expressing concerns about data consolidation and the potential misuse of dominance in diverse markets. The European Commission, acting as the antitrust watchdog for the EU, had issued a cautionary note to Amazon in July. The Commission emphasized potential competition reduction in the robot vacuum cleaner sector and warned that the deal might further solidify Amazon’s already dominant position as an online marketplace provider.
The decision on this acquisition, slated for a verdict by February 14, has generated substantial interest among industry observers and market analysts. The European Commission, however, refrained from providing any official comments on the matter. Despite attempts to seek clarification, Amazon has not responded to requests for comments as of now.
The acquisition, announced in August, holds strategic significance for Amazon, as it seeks to expand its array of smart devices. The deal would integrate iRobot’s popular Roomba robot vacuum into Amazon’s existing portfolio, which includes a spectrum of smart technologies such as the widely used Alexa voice assistant, smart thermostats, security devices, and wall-mounted smart displays.
As the February deadline approaches, stakeholders eagerly await the European Commission’s decision, which will not only shape the future of Amazon’s dominance in the smart device market but will also set a precedent for the regulatory treatment of major tech acquisitions in the EU.