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CMA launched an antitrust review into Amazon's acquisition of iRobot

Post Time:2023-04-20 Source:The Economic Times Author: Views:

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Britain's competition regulator, said on Tuesday it has launched a "Phase 1" probe into Amazon.com Inc's planned $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot Corp, which makes the Roomba vacuum cleaner.

The probe launch by the UK watchdog comes at a time antitrust regulators, including those in the U.S. and the European Union, have become increasingly wary of giant companies acquiring smaller rivals.

"The CMA hereby gives notice pursuant to section 96(2A) of the Act that the merger notice provided by Amazon.com, Inc (Amazon) and iRobot Corporation (iRobot) in relation to the anticipated acquisition by Amazon of iRobot (the Merger) meets the requirements of section 96(2) of the Act," read a statement from the regulator.

It added, "The initial period defined in section 34ZA(3) of the Act in relation to the Merger will therefore commence on the first working day after the date of this notice, ie on 19 April 2023. The deadline for the CMA to announce its decision whether to refer the Merger for a Phase 2 investigation is therefore 16 June 2023."

The Amazon-iRobot deal - announced in August last year to expand the company's stable of smart home devices - is already being reviewed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Amazon, along with Microsoft, is currently facing an antitrust investigation in Britain after the communications regulator said some aspects of the cloud market, including fees to switch supplier, were a cause for concern.

Responding to a Reuters request for comment, Amazon said the company was working cooperatively with the relevant regulators in their review of the merger.

An iRobot spokesperson told Reuters that the firm continued to cooperate with both the U.S. FTC and other regulatory agencies.

The CMA said it had until June 16 to make its decision on whether the Amazon-iRobot deal will reduce competition in the UK.