After UK approval, European antitrust authorities look set to give unconditional approval for Amazon to purchase iRobot
Amazon is reportedly set to receive some welcome news from European antitrust authorities, concerning an acquisition.
Reuters, citing three people familiar with the matter as saying on Thursday, reported that Amazon is set to win unconditional EU antitrust approval for its $1.4 billion acquisition of robot vacuum maker iRobot.
It was in August 2022, when Amazon signed a deal to buy Roomba robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for $1.7 billion.
Soon after that in September 2022 the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requested more details on the deal, after it begun a review of the acquisition, amid concern at the amount of home data Amazon would potential acquire with the iRobot deal.
Indeed, a group of 20 campaign bodies last year urged US antitrust regulators to stop Amazon’s proposed acquisition of iRobot.
In an open letter the groups warned Amazon could sell Roomba devices “at or near a loss” via its Prime subscription service in order to “access more personal consumer data to buttress its anti-competitive advantages online”.
This would harm users’ privacy while giving Amazon an unfair advantage over competitors who don’t have access to that data, the groups argued.
Then in April 2023, the UK’s CMA announced it was considering whether the deal could reduce competition in the connected device market.
But in June the UK regulator concluded, after a preliminary investigation, that the deal would not lead to competition concerns in the UK.
The CMA found that iRobot’s market position in the supply of robot vacuum cleaners in the UK is modest and that it already faces several significant rivals, and that it lacked the incentive to use its position to disadvantage rival robot vacuum cleaner manufacturers.
Reuters noted that the European Commission had in July warned Amazon that the deal could reduce competition in robot vacuum cleaners and reinforce the US company’s dominant position as an online marketplace provider.
The Commission, which is due to decide on the deal by 14 February 2024, declined to comment on the report that it is set to approve the deal.
Amazon did not respond immediately to a request for comment, Reuters reported.