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Monday, February 26 2024
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EU opens in-depth probe into Amazon’s $1.7 bn iRobot acquisition

Amazon has announced that it's testing a new subscription model for unlimited grocery delivery for Prime members in three cities of the US.
Photo Credit : IANS

London: The European Union (EU) regulators have launched an in-depth probe into Amazon’s $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot, the company which designs and builds consumer robots, including robot vacuum cleaners sold under the ‘Roomba’ brand.

The European Commission said in a statement that it’s concerned that “the transaction would allow Amazon to restrict competition in the market for robot vacuum cleaners (RVCs) and to strengthen its position as online marketplace provider.”

The preliminary investigation found that the transaction may allow Amazon to restrict competition in the market for the manufacturing and supply of RVCs and strengthen its position in the market for online marketplace services to third-party sellers (and related advertising services) and/or other data-related markets.

“Amazon is both an online marketplace and a retailer. We are concerned that, by acquiring iRobot, Amazon may use such a dual role to foreclose access by iRobot’s rivals to its marketplace,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president in charge of competition policy.

“With our in-depth investigation, we will also investigate whether Amazon would use data collected by iRobot to strengthen its position as an online marketplace provider,” she added.

The Commission now has 90 working days, until November 15, to make a decision.

The EU probe comes as the UK’s antitrust regulator last month cleared Amazon’s proposed $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that iRobot’s market position in the supply of robot vacuum cleaners in the UK is modest and that it already faces several significant rivals.

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