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Amazon’s iRobot Roomba acquisition beneath formal EU investigation

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European Union regulators have opened an official investigation into Amazon’s proposed $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot, the corporate behind the favored Roomba lineup of robotic vacuum cleaners.

In a press launch, the European Fee mentioned it’s concerned that “the transaction would enable Amazon to limit competitors available in the market for robotic vacuum cleaners (‘RVCs’) and to strengthen its place as on-line market supplier.” The European Fee can also be taking a look at how having access to iRobot customers’ information might give Amazon a bonus “available in the market for on-line market companies to third-party sellers (and associated promoting companies) and / or different data-related markets.”

“We proceed to work by the method with the European Fee and are centered on addressing its questions and any recognized issues at this stage,” Amazon spokesperson Alexandra Miller mentioned in an announcement. “iRobot, which faces intense competitors from different vacuum cleaner suppliers, presents sensible and creative merchandise. We consider Amazon can supply an organization like iRobot the assets to speed up innovation and put money into essential options whereas decreasing costs for shoppers.”

The European Fee will decide about if it would block the deal by November fifteenth.

The EU’s investigation is available in an period of better regulatory scrutiny of Massive Tech acquisitions. A decade in the past, Meta (then often known as Fb) was in a position to snap up Instagram and WhatsApp with comparatively little oversight, however these days, even comparatively modest acquisitions are attracting intense scrutiny. In addition to being pressured to promote Giphy, Meta additionally had a fight on its hands to acquire VR startup Within (although it eventually succeeded).

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Amazon’s proposed buy of iRobot can also be being probed by the US’s Federal Commerce Fee (FTC). Final yr, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC had requested that each firms provide paperwork with supporting details about the deal. A bunch of Democrat lawmakers additionally called for the FTC to open a formal investigation. The Monetary Instances beforehand famous that such an investigation is more likely to focus extra on competitors fairly than privateness issues. 

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