UK clears Amazon’s $1.7 billion deal for Roomba-maker iRobot


(Reuters) -Britain’s competition regulator on Friday cleared Amazon.com Inc’s planned $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot Corp, maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had concluded that the deal would not lead to competition concerns in the UK.

“We’re pleased with the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s decision and are committed to supporting regulatory bodies in their work,” a spokesperson for Amazon said.

“We look forward to similar decisions from other regulators soon.”

In April, the CMA had launched a “Phase 1” probe into the deal which was announced in August last year as Amazon sought to expand its stable of smart-home devices, which include the Alexa voice assistant, smart thermostats, security devices, wall mounted smart displays and a canine-like robot called Astro.

Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic are wary of Big Tech acquiring smaller rivals, especially those with access to big volumes of user data, and tend to demand remedies in return for approving such deals.

“It marks a significant milestone, and both companies are continuing to work cooperatively with other relevant regulators in their review of the merger,” iRobot Chief Executive Colin Angle said in a statement.

The news sent shares in U.S-listed iRobot up 12% in pre-market trade, while Amazon’s stock was marginally down.

EU antitrust regulators will decide by July 6 whether to clear the deal, while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also examining the acquisition.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; editing by Devika Syamnath and Jason Neely)

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