FTC Probes Amazon’s $1.7 Bln Takeover Deal Of IRobot

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has requested Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and iRobot Corp (IRBT) for more information on the tech giant’s $1.7-billion buyout of the Roomba vacuum maker.

According to a filing from iRobot, on September 19, FTC made a “second request” for additional information and documentary materials to review.

Last month, Amazon agreed to buy iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash deal valued at about $1.7 billion, including iRobot’s net debt. On completion, Colin Angle will remain as CEO of iRobot.

iRobot designs and builds thoughtful robots and smart home devices. iRobot’s product portfolio features technologies and advanced concepts in cleaning, mapping and navigation.

The company, which introduced its first Roomba robot vacuum in 2002, now has sold millions of robots worldwide.

Earlier this month, more than two dozen groups wrote to the agency alleging the deal could help Amazon “entrench their monopoly power in the digital economy.”

“The undersigned organizations strongly encourage the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to use its authority to challenge Amazon’s proposed acquisition of iRobot Corporation. The proposed deal poses a striking set of concerns related to consumer privacy and market competition. Allowing Amazon to absorb a competing smart home device business with access to incredibly detailed consumer data would endanger fair competition and open markets while also jeopardizing consumer privacy,” the letter reads.

The groups claimed that Amazon could seek to sell Roombas at or near loss and potentially drive other smart vacuum makers out of business. They also argued that Amazon’s control of Roombas could give it access to detailed data about consumers’ home layouts, interiors and lifestyle that could benefit its e-commerce business.

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