US regulator gives nod to Amazon’s $1.7bn iRobot acquisition

The acquisition of iRobot would not disadvantage Amazon's rival 'smart home' platforms.

San Francisco: The UK’s antitrust regulator has cleared Amazon’s proposed $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot, which designs and builds consumer robots, including robot vacuum cleaners sold under the ‘Roomba’ brand.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that iRobot’s market position in the supply of robot vacuum cleaners in the UK is modest and that it already faces several significant rivals.

“On this basis, the CMA considered that the loss of potential competition from Amazon wouldn’t have a substantial impact on market outcomes,” it said in a statement.

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The acquisition of iRobot would not disadvantage Amazon’s rival ‘smart home’ platforms.

“This is primarily because robot vacuum cleaners (and the data that they gather) are generally not considered to be an important input to the emerging “smart home” market in the UK,” said the CMA.

The CMA also found that there are, in any case, several alternative robot vacuum cleaners with similar capabilities to iRobot that could form part of rival “smart home” offerings.

“More people are choosing to use ‘smart’ tech in their homes – whether that’s listening to the radio through a smart speaker, answering the door using a video doorbell, or keeping floors clean with robot vacuum cleaners,” said Colin Raftery, Senior Director of Mergers at the CMA.

“Here, after a thorough investigation, we’re satisfied that the deal would have no impact on competition in the UK,” the CMA added.

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