EU regulators plan to block Amazon’s $1.7B iRobot acquisition: report

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By Dan Sears

The European Union’s competition watchdog plans to block Amazon’s $1.7 billion deal for robot vacuum maker iRobot, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shares of the Roomba vacuum maker plunged 40% to $14 after the bell.

Officials from the European Commission met Amazon’s representatives on Thursday to discuss the deal, the report said.

The tech giant did not offer remedies to the European Union antitrust regulator until the Jan. 10 deadline to address concerns the deal could reduce competition and reinforce Amazon’s e-commerce platform dominance.

The WSJ reported that Amazon was informed during the meeting that the deal was likely to be rejected.

Amazon declined to comment on the report.

“If the objective is to have more competition in the home robotics sector, this makes no sense,” said Matt Schruers, president of tech lobbying group Computer and Communications Industry Association.

“Blocking this deal may well leave consumers with fewer options, and regulators cannot sweep that fact under the rug,” Schruers added.

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Roomba robot vacuums
Shares of the Roomba vacuum maker plunged in after hours. Getty Images

Amazon sign
Amazon did not offer remedies to the European Union antitrust regulator. REUTERS

The e-commerce giant disclosed its plans to buy iRobot in August 2022, as it looks to add to its portfolio of smart devices, which include the Alexa voice assistant, smart thermostats, security devices and wall-mounted smart displays.

The European Commission, which serves as the EU’s competition watchdog, had until Feb. 14 to either approve or reject the deal.

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