March 5, 2024

Amazon and iRobot, maker of the Roomba vacuum line, just announced that they would be dropping their proposed merger. The potential acquisition was announced back in August of 2022 and was immediately the target of antitrust watchdogs, particularly in the EU. The European Commission (the EU’s executive branch) officially announced it was looking into the $1.4 billion dollar deal last July and it raised formal concerns over the potential impact on competition in November.

iRobot also just announced a large round of layoffs now that the deal isn’t going through. The company says it is laying off about 350 employees, which represents 31 percent of iRobot’s workforce.

While the companies didn’t mention the pressure from the EU specifically, Bloomberg notes that a veto looked likely. And while that might not have immediately killed the deal, Amazon and iRobot appear to have decided to shut things down completely rather than work through any proposed changes to make the deal more palatable to regulators.

Earlier in January, the European Commission was said to have warned Amazon that the deal was on thin ice. However, according to Reuters, the company declined to offer any potential remedies to soothe the bloc’s concerns over the acquisition. As outlined in the original agreement, Amazon is paying iRobot a $94 million termination fee now that the deal is dead.

This isn’t exactly the first time Amazon and the EU have butted heads. They previously squared off over the company’s handling of third-party seller information. In 2022, the two sides reached an agreement over Amazon’s treatment of third-party sellers.

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