Amazon’s acquisition of Roomba Maker iRobot comes under FTC scrutiny

Buyout of iRobot by Amazon for $1.7 billion is being scrutinized by the Federal Trade Commission, the maker of Roomba robot vacuums said in a new filing released Tuesday.

“On September 19, 2022, iRobot and Amazon each received a request for additional information and documentary materials” about the merger, says the notice, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The request for more information indicates that the deal is being closely scrutinized by the FTC, according to CNN. Amazon declined to comment, and the FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The review comes as Amazon awaits approval from a separate acquisition of One Medical. The FTC also sent a second request to Amazon and 1Life Healthcare, One Medical’s parent company, as part of its review of the deal.

Lawmakers and regulators concerned with issues of monopoly power have Big Tech companies on their sites. The FTC is headed by Lina Khan, who fact antitrust issues raised by Amazon and other technology companies, a particular focus of her legal research before becoming president of the agency. Amazon asked Khan to recuse himself investigations involving Amazon. In June 2021, US senators proposed a List of Antitrust Laws that targeted the practices of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook’s parent company Meta, among others.

After Amazon agreed to acquire iRobot in August, a group of organizations including Fight for the Future, Color of Change and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters raised concerns in an open letter about the acquisition. by Amazon from a competitor in home robotics, as well as the ability to add information about Roomba users’ homes to its horde of consumer data.

“The deal will further strengthen Amazon’s grip on the smart home technology ecosystem, eliminate competition in this sector, and strengthen the company’s monopoly power,” the groups said in the letter.

Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of Amazon devices, said in a statement last month that the company was drawn to iRobot’s history of innovation.

“For many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent the way people clean with incredibly convenient and inventive products,” Limp said in the release, “cleaning when and where customers want it. while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically empty the collection bin.”

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