Whose Failure Is the Failed Amazon/iRobot Merger?

The European Commission told Amazon in November 2023 of its preliminary view that the company’s proposed acquisition of iRobot restricted competition in the market for robot vacuum cleaners (RVCs) and could hamper rival RVC suppliers’ ability to compete effectively. The deal, the Commission asserted, would give Amazon incentive to foreclose iRobot’s competitors by engaging in several anticompetitive strategies, including delisting rival RVCs from its marketplace, reducing their visibility, limiting access to certain widget or attractive product labels (“Amazon’s Choice,” “Works with Alexa”), and/or raising rivals’ sales and advertising costs. 

Recently, and in anticipation of a negative clearance decision from the Commission, Amazon and iRobot jointly announced they had terminated their acquisition agreement. 

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