UK approves Amazon buy of robotic vacuum maker iRobot

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority regulator said Friday it has approved Amazon’s $1.7-billion purchase of iRobot, the US maker of robotic vacuum Roomba.

The CMA “has now concluded that the deal would not lead to competition concerns in the UK”, it announced in a statement.

The transaction, announced in August 2022, aims to expand Amazon’s artificial intelligence and smart home ambitions.

The US retail titan welcomed Friday’s news.

“We’re pleased with the UK CMA’s decision and are committed to supporting regulatory bodies in their work. We look forward to similar decisions from other regulators soon,” said a spokesperson.

Massachusetts-based iRobot builds robots and “intelligent home” innovations, having introduced the Roomba self-operating vacuums a decade ago.

Amazon’s deal to buy iRobot for $61 per share along with acquiring the company’s debt was subject to approval of shareholders and regulators.

iRobot has a 30-year track record in robotics, and underlying software such as mapping and navigation.

Amazon has meanwhile invested smart home and automation technologies with acquisitions such as Ring doorbells, Kiva warehouse robots and self-driving startup Zoox.

Friday’s decision comes after the CMA had in April decided to block Microsoft’s $69-billion takeover of “Call of Duty” video games giant Activision Blizzard, arguing it would harm competition in cloud gaming. That decision will be appealed by both companies. — Agence France-Presse

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