Amazon has said it will acquire Roomba-maker iRobot for $1.7 billion, in an all-cash transaction at $61 per share.
The purchase, which would increase Amazon’s presence in the consumer robotics space, would be the company’s fourth-largest by market value, behind Whole Foods, MGM, and One Medical.
Beyond Roomba, the autonomous home vacuum cleaner, iRobot produces other self-directed devices aimed at making lives easier for consumers.
“We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, said in a statement. “Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive—from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin.”
Last year, Amazon introduced its own home robot, Astro, which is equipped with its Alexa voice-recognition technology.
The deal, however, is still subject to approval from shareholders and regulators. The Federal Trade Commission’s Chairwoman, Lina Khan, has been a vocal critic of Amazon and its practices. When Khan first became Chairwoman, Amazon pushed back against her plans to regulate the company, and more recently it asked the FTC to limit its investigation and pursuit of testimony from current CEO Andy Jassy and former CEO Jeff Bezos, calling it “burdensome.”
Sources close to the current deal told Politico that both companies are preparing for a “potentially lengthy, arduous investigation” to see if the merger violates antitrust laws. The FTC is likely to focus on whether the data provided by Roomba will give Amazon an unfair advantage in the retail industry, and how iRobot’s products as a whole would fit with Amazon’s existing smart home products, like Ring and Alexa.