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Amazon’s USD1.7 billion deal to buy Roomba maker iRobot gets UK approval

LONDON (AP) — British antitrust regulators cleared Amazon’s purchase of robot vacuum maker iRobot on Friday, but the USD1.7 billion deal still faces scrutiny in the United States (US) and Europe.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it decided not to escalate its initial investigation because it concluded that the deal would not result in a “substantial lessening of competition” within the United Kingdom (UK).

Amazon said it was pleased with the result.

“We look forward to similar decisions from other regulators soon,” the company said in a statement.

Consumer groups have voiced concerns that Amazon’s purchase of Bedford, Massachusetts-based iRobot, which makes the popular Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners, would widen the e-commerce giant’s dominance in the smart home market.

The acquisition is still facing a review in the US by the Federal Trade Commission amid worries about Amazon’s growing market power. It’s also under scrutiny by the European Union’s executive arm, which opened a review of the deal this month.

The UK watchdog said in its decision that robot vacuum cleaners and the data they collect aren’t generally considered an important gateway to the emerging market for smart home devices.

It said iRobot has a modest UK market position, already faces “several significant rivals” and Amazon would have little incentive to give its products special treatment over rivals in its online store.

In this file photo, an Amazon company logo is seen on the facade of building in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany, on March 18, 2022. PHOTO: AP