May 23, 2024

Amazon is set to win an unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $1.4 billion acquisition of robot vacuum maker iRobot. This info was disclosed by sources familiar with the situation. 

The deal was announced in August and would add iRobot’s Roomba robot vacuum to Amazon’s portfolio of smart devices. These include the Alexa voice assistant, smart thermostats, security devices, and wall-mounted smart displays.

The deal is part of Amazon’s broader strategy to expand its smart home portfolio and become the center of people’s homes. The company has been investing heavily in smart home devices and services, and acquiring iRobot would give it a leading position in the robot vacuum market.

EU Commission’s Initial Warning and Concerns

In July, the European Commission, the EU’s competition watchdog, warned Amazon. In this warning, the body expressed apprehensions that the proposed acquisition could diminish competition in the robot vacuum cleaner market. 

Moreover, there were concerns that the deal could further solidify Amazon’s dominant position as a provider in the online marketplace. 

This initial cautionary stance signaled the EU’s intention to thoroughly scrutinize the potential impact of the acquisition on market dynamics.

The $1.4 billion deal, announced in August, aims to integrate iRobot’s flagship product, the Roomba robot vacuum, into Amazon’s expansive portfolio of smart devices. 

The strategic move aligns with Amazon’s broader strategy of diversifying its product ecosystem. The company also aims to enhance its market presence in the rapidly growing smart home technology sector. Meanwhile, the European Commission is slated to make its final decision on the Amazon-iRobot deal by February 14. 

The approval, if granted unconditionally, would mark a significant milestone for Amazon. This will allow it to proceed with the acquisition without additional regulatory constraints in the EU. 

Notably, the UK antitrust agency has already given its unconditional clearance for the deal after a preliminary review. 

This highlights the varying regulatory responses to the acquisition in different jurisdictions. But for now, the Commission, due to decide on the deal by February 14, declined to comment. 

Also, Amazon did not respond immediately to a request for comment. 

Implications for the Market

The EU’s approval of the deal is likely to have implications for the robot vacuum market. It could lead to further consolidation in the industry, with other large tech companies acquiring smaller players. 

It could also increase competition between Amazon and other smart home device makers, such as Google and Apple. Overall, the EU’s approval of the deal is a positive sign for Amazon and the robot vacuum industry. It will likely increase innovation in the market.

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