In a significant market downturn, shares of iRobot, renowned for its Roomba vacuum cleaner, experienced a 17% drop following a stern warning from the European Union’s antitrust regulator regarding Amazon’s proposed $1.7 billion acquisition of the robotics manufacturer.
The European Commission initiated a thorough investigation into the acquisition in July, with a verdict expected by February 14. In a statement, the commission expressed provisional concerns, stating that the potential acquisition of iRobot by Amazon could impede competition in the robot vacuum cleaner market. Amazon, in response, assured CNBC that they are actively collaborating with the commission to address the highlighted concerns.
iRobot, facing stiff competition in the vacuum cleaner industry, is known for its innovative and practical product offerings. An Amazon spokesperson commented, “We believe Amazon can offer a company like iRobot the resources to accelerate innovation and invest in critical features while lowering prices for consumers.”
The market response to the antitrust warning was swift, with iRobot’s shares experiencing a temporary halt in the wake of the announcement. Conversely, Amazon’s shares saw a modest increase of about 1.4%.
Amazon first revealed its intent to acquire iRobot in August 2022 at $61 per share, a deal currently under scrutiny by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Notably, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority had previously stated in June that the acquisition posed no significant threat to competition in the UK market.
As the EU antitrust investigation progresses, stakeholders are closely monitoring the potential implications for both iRobot and Amazon, with the outcome poised to shape the landscape of the robot vacuum cleaner market in Europe and beyond.