Amazon and iRobot merger is under investigation by the FTC

September 28, 2022 by
Frank Calviño

Amazon and iRobot, the maker of the Roomba brand cleaning robots, announced last August the signing of a merger agreement, and now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to investigate this $1.7 billion acquisition, due to growing concerns about Amazon becoming a global monopoly or developing monopoly practices. 

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In a regulatory filing last Tuesday, iRobot said both companies received a request for additional information about the planned merger, a move that could delay the deal for months, forcing the acquisition to now be subject to regulatory approval. 

The FTC seems concerned about Amazon 

The impending situation with iRobot is not the only open investigation that the FTC currently has on Amazon. 

A few days ago, the Federal Trade Commission made a similar request to Amazon and One Medical, a health care company that the e-commerce giant plans to buy for $3.9 billion.

In both cases, the FTC has mentioned that it is concerned about Amazon's monopolistic practices and tendencies. Something that Lina Khan, the recently appointed chairwoman of the FTC has been very vocal about. 

Khan has gone so far as even publicly declare that the FTC will be tougher on the big tech industry and internet titans like Amazon, in particular when company mergers are involved. 

In ligth of this,  Amazon previously asked her to recuse herself from all company-related cases. Lina Khan is known for her very critical position toward tech giants and the monopoly they exercise, in her opinion.

Amazon promises to cooperate

Regardless of the ‘Khan-Amazon Battle’ both Amazon and iRobot have promised to cooperate with this FTC review. 

Following the investigation, the agency will be able to challenge a merger in court, seek relief or simply do nothing, which allows the agreement to close. The Commission has reminded Amazon and iRobot that under federal law it legally retains the right to challenge a deal even after it closes.

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