Amazon abandons plans to buy Roomba maker iRobot

Amazon’s deal to buy Roomba maker iRobot is off, the companies announced today, after iRobot said the deal has “no path to regulatory approval in the European Union.” iRobot is also announcing that it’s laying off around 350 employees, or around 31 percent of its workforce as part of a restructuring.

As part of the announcement, iRobot’s chairman and CEO Colin Angle is stepping down. iRobot’s current executive vice president and chief legal officer Glen Weinstein will serve as interim CEO, and Andrew Miller, formerly lead independent director of the board, will become chairman.

The announcement comes after the $1.4 billion acquisition ran into difficulties with EU regulators. Last November, the European Commission said it believed the deal had the potential to restrict competition in the robot vacuum cleaner market. Many of iRobot’s competitors also sell their devices on Amazon’s online store, and regulators were concerned that Amazon could delist or reduce the visibility of rival robot vacuum cleaners, restricting competition, and “leading to higher prices, lower quality, and less innovation for consumers.”

The collapse of the deal means Amazon will need to pay a $94 million termination fee to iRobot. But the Roomba manufacturer will need to use the majority of this to pay off a $200 million loan it took out last year, the Financial Times reported at the time.

In the time since announcing its plans to buy iRobot, Amazon’s devices and services business has gained a new boss. When the deal was first announced, Dave Limp was still serving as Amazon hardware’s top executive. But as of the end of October 2023, Limp has been replaced by Panos Panay, who moved into the role from Microsoft, while Limp has transitioned to CEO of Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company, Blue Origin.

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