Several Members of Congress Want to Block Amazon’s Acquisition of iRobot

11 months ago 66

Several members of the U.S. Congress issued a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) implicit the announced acquisition of iRobot Corporation by Inc.

Here’s wherefore the lawmakers person concerns implicit the purchase.

What Happened

A missive recommending the FTC cull the planned acquisition of iRobot by was signed by immoderate members of Congress.

“I person superior concerns astir the Amazon-iRobot deal—dominant companies similar Amazon shouldn’t beryllium allowed to conscionable bargain their mode retired of competing,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told Axios. “The FTC should reason this projected merger to support competition, little user prices, and rein successful Amazon’s well-documented anticompetitive activities.”

The missive argued the acquisition could “harm consumers and trim competition” successful the location robotics segment.

“Given Amazon’s grounds of infringing connected consumers’ privacy, and their ongoing past of anticompetitive mergers to summation their monopoly power, the FTC should usage its authorization to reason the Amazon–iRobot transaction,” the missive read.

iRobot has a ascendant marketplace stock successful the astute vacuum marketplace of astir 75 percent, which could greatly interaction competitors, according to the letter.

The iRobot acquisition came aft Amazon made respective acquisitions successful the location appliances space, arsenic pointed retired by the letter. This included Blink and Ring.

The missive stated Amazon had a past of utilizing a strategy of acquiring companies with beardown marketplace stock and crushing its rivals by offering discounts and utilizing its immense lawsuit base. The missive called this “copy-acquire-kill.”

Data privateness concerns were besides mentioned successful the missive with iRobot giving Amazon entree to mapping exertion wrong consumers’ homes. The missive said the acquisition of iRobot combined with ownership of Ring and Blink would springiness Amazon “eyes and ears wrong the homes.”

The missive was signed by Warren on with the pursuing members of Congress:

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.)
Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.)
Rep. Pamila Jayapal (D-Wash.)
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.)

Why It’s Important

Amazon’s acquisition was already nether an extended reappraisal by the FTC and could look respective challenges earlier approval.

Lina Khan, who chairs the FTC, has antecedently written antitrust concerns astir Amazon, according to Axios. Amazon antecedently asked for immunity successful rulings from Khan, fixed her past past of criticizing the company.

Amazon’s $1.7 cardinal acquisition would wage shareholders of iRobot $61 per share.

One large question astir the acquisition would beryllium if Amazon would beryllium forced to proceed selling iRobot devices done competitors’ platforms alternatively of making the devices exclusive to Amazon’s e-commerce platform. This is 1 interest raised by the missive with the past acquisition of Kiva robotic exertion becoming exclusive to Amazon’s warehouses aft the woody closed. Kiva antecedently sold robots for warehouses to different companies.

The inclusion of Khan successful the lawsuit by the FTC could pb to appeals and complaints from Amazon if the woody doesn’t spell done arsenic the institution tin marque a lawsuit that she has a biased sentiment of the company.

The acquisition is apt to spot respective antitrust complaints and could instrumentality a agelong clip to get approval. The woody mightiness besides beryllium rejected, which could nonstop shares of iRobot down.

iRobot shares are down 0.71 percent to $57.05. Shares of iRobot were down 16 percent year-to-date and commercialized astatine a 7 percent discount to the acquisition price.

By Chris Katje

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