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UK Approves Amazon's $1.7 Billion Acquisition Of Roomba Creator iRobot

UK Approves Amazon's $1.7 Billion Acquisition Of Roomba Creator iRobot
The $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot Corp. by Inc., the company that makes the Roomba vacuum cleaner, has been approved by Britain's antitrust watchdog.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) declared that it had come to the conclusion that the deal wouldn't give rise to any UK competition issues.
"We're pleased with the UK Competition and Markets Authority's decision and are committed to supporting regulatory bodies in their work," a spokesperson for Amazon said. "We look forward to similar decisions from other regulators soon."
The deal, which was announced in August of last year as Amazon sought to increase the number of its smart home products, which already include the Alexa voice assistant, smart thermostats, security systems, wall-mounted smart displays, and a robot that resembles a dog named Astro, was the subject of a "Phase 1" investigation by the CMA in April.
Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic are suspicious of Big Tech purchasing smaller competitors, particularly those who have access to large numbers of user data, and often seek fixes in exchange for allowing such acquisitions.
"It marks a significant milestone, and both companies are continuing to work cooperatively with other relevant regulators in their review of the merger," iRobot Chief Executive Colin Angle said in a statement.
As a result of the news, shares of the US-listed company iRobot increased 18%, while Amazon's stock fell 1.2%.
"In reality though, the 'fundamentals' of this deal means that the CMA's assessment was far less controversial than in other tech based cases given in particular iRobot's low market share," said Alex Haffner, competition partner at UK law firm Fladgate.
The EU antitrust authorities will decide by July 6 whether to approve the transaction.
The iRobot deal is being investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission, which is anticipated to sue for antitrust violations. Although it has acknowledged that it has complied with the agency's document requests, the online store has declined to comment on the timing.
The FTC issued a warning letter stating particular concerns with the transaction after completed a prior transaction, its $3.5 billion acquisition of primary care provider One Medical in February, but took no further action.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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