Amazon has decided to abandon its previously agreed-upon acquisition of iRobot, a prominent American builder of autonomous cleaning devices. The European Commission, after raising concerns about potential market competition restrictions, informed Amazon that the $1.7 million deal, initially settled in August 2022, was likely to face rejection. The European watchdog specifically highlighted fears that Amazon might limit iRobot’s competitors from selling their products on Amazon’s marketplace, potentially restricting the market for robot vacuum cleaners.
Despite receiving clearance from the United Kingdom’s competition regulators in June, the deal faced hurdles on the European front, leading to its ultimate termination. Both Amazon and iRobot released a joint statement announcing the mutual decision to terminate the acquisition agreement, with Amazon expressing regret over the lost opportunity for consumer benefit and innovation. While Amazon’s senior vice president, David Zapolsky, lamented the denial of faster innovation and competitive prices, iRobot’s founder, Colin Angle, remained optimistic, emphasizing a commitment to continuing the development of thoughtful robots and intelligent home innovations.
The termination of the deal comes amid ongoing scrutiny of Amazon by antitrust regulators worldwide, with the European Commission acting to protect consumers who rely on Amazon’s marketplace for product discovery and final purchasing decisions in key European markets.