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Amazon takeover of iRobot faces UK watchdog review

Amazon takeover of iRobot faces UK watchdog review

Amazon's planned takeover of Roomba vacuum cleaner maker iRobot is being reviewed by the UK's competition watchdog.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking at whether the deal could lead to "a substantial lessening of competition".

Amazon is seeking to grow its operations for smart home appliances.

Both Amazon and iRobot have both said they are "working co-operatively" with regulators.

Amazon announced it was buying iRobot last year in a $1.7bn (£1.4bn) takeover deal.

Roomba models sell in the UK from £249, with some costing up to £899.

A month after Amazon agreed the deal with iRobot, US authorities said they would review the takeover.

In February, the Financial Times reported that European competition authorities were also set to launch a probe into the deal.

Both Amazon and Massachusetts-based iRobot said they were "working co-operatively" with the relevant regulators over the merger.

The Roomba vacuum cleaner has had a colourful past. In 2021, owners said devices appeared to be "drunk" following a software update.

Machines were said to be "spinning around", constantly recharging or not charging at all, and moving in strange directions.

The CMA currently has two other ongoing investigations into Amazon.

One is into the use of fake online reviews, which was launched in May 2020, and includes Google as well as Amazon.

The competition watchdog said at the time it launched its investigation it had concerns that both firms had "not been doing enough to tackle fake reviews on their sites".

It is currently gathering information to determine whether they may have breached consumer law by taking insufficient action to protect shoppers from such reviews.

The other investigation, launched in July 2022, concerns suspected anti-competitive practices at Amazon and follows a European Commission probe.

The CMA is investigating how the tech giant sells goods from third-party sellers on its website and whether it is abusing its position to benefit its own products.

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