Amazon bought Roomba maker iRobot for roughly $1.7 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon on Friday announced it has agreed to acquire vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for about $1.7 billion, leaving other companies to add to its collection of smart home devices amid growing concerns about the company’s market power.

iRobot sells its products worldwide and is most famous for its circular Roomba vacuum, which will accompany the Alexa voice assistant, Robot Astro and Ring security cameras in the list of smart home features offered by the Seattle-based e-commerce and tech giant.

Amazon said it will acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction that will include iRobot’s net debt. The company has a total debt of about $332.1 million as of July 2. The deal is subject to approval by shareholders and regulators. After completion, iRobot’s CEO, Colin Angle, will remain in his position.

Also on Friday, iRobot reported its quarterly results. Revenue fell 30% on reduced orders and delays, and the company announced it was laying off 10% of its workforce.

iRobot shares rose 19% in morning trading. Amazon fell 1.4%.

Founded in 1990 by a trio of Massachusetts Institute of Technology roboticists, including Angle, iRobot’s early efforts resulted in rovers that could perform military and disaster relief tasks after the September 11 attacks.

The profit from the defense contract allowed iRobot to experiment with various other robots, producing some duds and one big commercial success: the first Roomba, introduced in 2002, which pioneered the market for automatic vacuum cleaners.

The company spun off its defense robotics division in 2016 to become almost exclusively selling vacuums and some other home robots, such as the Braava robot mop. This is a planned launch robotic lawn mowers in 2020 but backwards, talking about issues related to the pandemic.

The purchase of iRobot is Amazon’s fourth largest acquisition, led by the $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods in 2017.

The deal comes as antitrust advocates continue to raise concerns about Amazon’s dominance. Last month, Amazon said it would buy primary care provider One Medical in a deal worth roughly $ 3.9 billion, a move that expanded its reach further to health care.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who heads the Senate Judiciary antitrust panel, has urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the acquisition, in the form of other critics who have called on regulators to block the purchase because of concerns about it. the company’s past conduct and potential implications for consumer health data.

Regulators also have discretion to challenge Amazon’s $8.5 billion buyout of Hollywood studio MGM, which ended earlier this year.

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