Roomba on the floor

Competition watchdog probes Amazon takeover of Roomba firm iRobot

Image credit: Reuters

The UK's competition watchdog is investigating Amazon’s planned takeover of robot vacuum maker iRobot Corp, following similar scrutiny of the deal in the US.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has started reviewing whether the takeover deal could lead to “a substantial lessening of competition”.

The CMA has opened an “invitation to comment” for interested parties to provide information which could be used for a formal investigation.

Amazon initially agreed the $1.7bn (£1.37bn) acquisition of iRobot - famous for its iconic Roomba vacuum cleaners - in August 2022. It was the latest move by Amazon to grow its operation for smart home appliances, despite broad concerns over the firm’s market power.

In September, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it had started reviewing the takeover.

A spokesperson for the UK's markets regulator said: “The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods or services.

“To assist it with this assessment, the CMA invites comments on the transaction from any interested party.”

Amazon said it is “working co-operatively with the relevant regulators in their review of the merger”.

Massachusetts-based iRobot said that it “continues to work co-operatively with both the US FTC and other regulatory agencies in their review of the Amazon-iRobot merger”.

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