Amazon's iRobot takeover collapses

1 min read

The proposed acquisition of iRobot by Amazon has collapsed and the failed deal will see Amazon pay iRobot a $94m termination fee.

The news follows reports that the European Union’s competition watchdog was looking to block the deal, as it had concerns that the deal would restrict competition in the market.

iRobot manufactures the Roomba i7, a wifi-connected vacuum cleaner that it claims maps and learns rooms and empties itself when full.

Amazon said that it was disappointed at the news – especially because the UK’s competition watchdog had cleared the deal, after an inquiry last year.

According to David Zapolsky, Amazon SVP and General Counsel, “We’re believers in the future of consumer robotics in the home and have always been fans of iRobot’s products. Amazon and iRobot were excited to see what our teams could build together, and we’re deeply grateful to everyone who worked tirelessly to try and make this collaboration a reality.”

According to Zapolsky the failure of the deal will deny customers faster innovation in this space and have an impact on prices.

He suggested that mergers and acquisitions like this helped companies to compete better in the global marketplace, especially against those that, “aren’t subject to the same regulatory requirements in fast-moving technology segments like robotics.”

Whether the decision by the EU is creating disproportionate regulatory hurdles that discourage entrepreneurs, as Zaplosky contends, or whether its decision actually protects them from over-bearing technological behemoths is up for discussion.

The EU expressed concerns that Amazon’s online presence could have been used to ‘squeeze out’ competitors to iRobot through restricting access to its stores.

iRobot has already shed jobs on the back of the decision and is set to cut about 31% of its workforce, or 350 jobs.

The company also said founder Colin Angle had stepped down as its CEO.