European Commission set to block Amazon's $1.7bn iRobot takeover

Amazon’s planned $1.7 billion takeover of robot vacuum maker iRobot has hit a major hurdle, with the European Commission reportedly set to block the deal.

According to a report from the WSJ, competition officials from the Commission met with Amazon representatives on Thursday to discuss the deal. During that meeting, Amazon was told that the deal was likely to be rejected, the report notes.

The Commission, under Margrethe Vestager, would still need formal approval from its top political leaders before a final decision can be reached, but it has historically not faced opposition with decisions of this kind.

Despite being cleared by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority in June of last year, the European Commission has stated its concerns about the deal since November, when it said that the takeover could restrict competition and that Amazon could prevent iRobot’s rivals from selling their products on its marketplace.

Amazon had been given a deadline of last week to submit remedies to the Commission’s concerns, but it missed the date.

Even if it were to placate the European Commission by its 14 February deadline for a final decision, Amazon still faces tough opposition from the US’s Federal Trade Commission which itself has been investigating the deal and last year sued Amazon over claims that it maintains an illegal monopoly.

Amazon, which announced the deal in August 2022, could still walk away from the deal, the WSJ report notes.

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