By Adam Clark
Amazon’s $1.4 billion deal for Roomba-maker iRobot looks set to be blocked by European Union antitrust authorities. It’s only a small setback for the e-commerce giant but it’s a reminder that regulators are still skeptical over acquisitions made by big technology companies.
Officials from the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, told Amazon at a meeting Thursday that the iRobot deal was likely to be rejected, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Amazon and the European Commission both declined to comment on the report.
iRobot shares were down 36% in premarket trading at $15.01 while Amazon shares were up 0.6%.
Amazon struck a $61-a-share deal for iRobot in August 2022, a price that was later reduced to $51.75 a share. The acquisition would have extended Amazon’s line up of smart products, which include the Alexa virtual assistant, Ring doorbells, and Smart thermostats.
The rejection wasn’t totally unexpected. The European Commission initially sent Amazon a statement of objections to the proposed deal in November 2023, saying it was concerned it would restrict competition in the market for robotic vacuum cleaners. Amazon subsequently didn’t file any proposed remedies.
Regulators have a mixed recent record when it comes to blocking big technology deals.
Two large deals were completed last year, pointing to a mergers-and-acquisition revival. Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard was completed in the face of regulatory hurdles by U.S. and U.K. authorities, while Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware closed after a period of months waiting on Chinese approval.
However, Adobe said in December that it was withdrawing its $20 billion offer to buy design-software company Figma, partly due to objections from European regulators.
Write to Adam Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org