EU regulators could block the Amazon and iRobot deal

Amazon’s planned $1.4 billion acquisition of iRobot Corporation faces potential rejection by EU antitrust regulators, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. While a final decision is pending, concerns are growing that the deal could lead to unfair competition in the robot vacuum market. iRobot, known for the popular Roomba autonomous vacuums, and Amazon, with its Alexa-enabled cleaning robots, combining forces raises red flags for regulators who fear it may limit consumer choices, particularly given Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce.

The European Commission is reportedly leaning towards rejecting the deal, echoing concerns raised by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is currently investigating the iRobot deal, and there are existing legal challenges against Amazon for alleged anti-competitive behaviour. This rejection trend aligns with a broader international effort to scrutinise and restrict major tech acquisitions and address anti-competitive conduct.

The iRobot deal, if blocked, would be another instance of governments globally imposing roadblocks on significant tech acquisitions. The Biden administration’s 2021 executive order underscores a re-evaluation of antitrust guidelines, signalling a shift in regulatory approach. Despite a decline in the number of cases filed by the DOJ and FTC since 2020, there is a notable focus on challenging major U.S. companies through high-profile investigations and interventions, impacting investors and reshaping the antitrust landscape.


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