- Amazon abandons acquisition of iRobot, citing European regulatory hurdles
Amazon has halted its $1.45 billion acquisition of iRobot ahead of an expected formal objection from European Union regulators, the two companies said Monday.
iRobot described the blockage in a press release as “a loss for consumers, competition and innovation” and suggested there was “no path to regulatory approval.”
The company is known for developing the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner – perhaps the most popular autonomous consumer robot, introduced back in 2002.
A preliminary objection to the deal was first lodged last year on the grounds that Amazon could limit the visibility of competing products on its website.
Amazon abandons acquisition of iRobot, citing European regulatory hurdles. Pictured is a Roomba 980 vacuum cleaner robot
Amazon announced the move to expand its range of smart home devices in August 2022
This came as iRobot announced it would lay off nearly 350 employees – around a third of its workforce – and that its chairman and CEO Colin Angle would be stepping down.
iRobot said it would reduce its spending on research and “non-ground care” products such as air purifiers and robotic lawnmowers.
“The termination of the agreement with Amazon is disappointing, but iRobot now turns to the future and is focused on continuing to develop thoughtful robots and smart home innovations that make lives better,” iRobot’s Angle said in a press release.
iRobot shares were down more than 15 percent when markets opened Monday morning.
Amazon first announced the deal in August 2022. The world's largest online retailer, which already owns Alexa and Ring, has been pushing to expand its inventory of smart home devices.
Critics rejected the deal, saying it would strengthen Amazon's already strong position in the industry.