Amazon to buy iRobot vacuum cleaner for $1.7 billion

Amazon announced on Friday that it had agreed to acquire vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for about $1.7 billion, amid widespread concerns over the company’s market power, to add another smart appliance to its collection of smart appliances. acquired the company.

iRobot sells products all over the world and is most famous for its circular Roomba vacuum cleaner. It’s on the list of smart his home features offered by the Seattle-based e-commerce and tech giant, along with voice assistant his Alexa, Astro robots, Ring Security his camera. .

Amazon said it would acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction that includes iRobot’s net debt. As of July 2, the company’s current total debt is approximately $332.1 million. The transaction is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals. Upon completion, iRobot CEO Colin Angle will remain in his position.

Also on Friday, iRobot reported its quarterly results. Sales plummeted by 30% as orders fell and were delayed, and the company announced it would lay off 10% of his workforce.

Shares of iRobot rose 19% in morning trading. Amazon fell 1.4%.

Founded in 1990 by three Massachusetts Institute of Technology roboticists, including Angle, iRobot’s early venture led to a rover capable of performing military and disaster relief tasks in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

Profits from defense contracts allowed iRobot to experiment with various other robots, producing several unexploded ordnances and one big commercial success. The first Roomba, introduced in 2002, pioneered the automatic vacuum market.

The company spun off its defense robot division in 2016 to sell almost exclusively vacuum cleaners and other home robots such as the Braava robotic mop. The company had planned to launch a robotic lawnmower in 2020, but pulled back, citing issues related to the pandemic.

The iRobot acquisition is Amazon’s fourth-largest acquisition, following its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods in 2017.

The deal comes as antitrust advocates continue to raise concerns about Amazon’s growing dominance. Last month, Amazon announced it would acquire primary care provider One Medical for about $3.9 billion.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), who heads the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Committee, has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the acquisition. The company’s past conduct and its potential impact on consumer health data. The regulator also has discretion to challenge Amazon’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Hollywood studio MGM, which was completed earlier this year.

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