Amazon has scrapped its proposed takeover of iRobot after a challenge from the EU’s competition watchdog.
The abandonment of the deal followed the findings of the body’s investigation.
First announced in 2022, the acquisition was met with heightened levels of scrutiny due to the size of the acquisition and fears of Amazon using its significant online retail presence to favour sales of iRobot robot vacuums.
Since the termination of the deal, iRobot has announced job cuts and has reported a decline in sales.
A spokesperson for the robot maker said it would immediately embark on restructuring efforts, with 350 jobs, 31% of its staff, expected to be axed as a result.
Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president, in charge of competition policy at the European Commission, said: “iRobot manufactures robot vacuum cleaners. Its flagship brand is the well-known ‘Roomba’. iRobot is one of the main robot vacuum cleaners suppliers in the European Economic Area (‘EEA’) and notably in several Member States.
“Amazon is both a retailer and an online marketplace operating local marketplaces in several Member States – the Amazon Stores. Amazon Stores are the main sales and discovery channel for robot vacuum cleaners customers in the EEA, and in particular in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.”
David Zapolsky, Amazon senior vice president and general counsel, added: “This outcome will deny consumers faster innovation and more competitive prices, which we’re confident would have made their lives easier and more enjoyable.
“…Undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles discourage entrepreneurs, who should be able to see acquisition as one path to success, and that hurts both consumers and competition – the very things that regulators say they’re trying to protect.”