Amazon’s iRobot deal faces EU antitrust veto, sources say

Amazon’s iRobot deal faces EU antitrust veto, sources say

Amazon’s ($AMZN.O) proposed $1.4 billion acquisition of iRobot ($IRBT.O) faces a potential block by EU antitrust regulators, as three sources familiar with the matter disclosed on Friday. The move comes as regulatory bodies intensify scrutiny of significant Big Tech transactions. Despite a warning from the European Commission that the deal could stifle competition in the robot vacuum cleaner market, Amazon has opted against providing remedies to address these concerns.

The Commission, set to make a decision on the deal by Feb. 14, has refrained from commenting, as has Amazon. The primary concerns of regulators revolve around the potential for Amazon to impede iRobot’s competitors on its online marketplace, particularly impacting markets in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Although the newly enforced EU tech rules under the Digital Markets Act could potentially mitigate these concerns, the Commission is leaning towards blocking the deal. One source cited the extended enforcement process and the lack of legal challenges to the new legislation as factors influencing this decision.

A potential veto could set a significant precedent, elevating the criteria for future Amazon acquisitions, as EU antitrust enforcers are likely to demand substantial remedies in exchange for approval. In response to these developments, iRobot shares experienced a significant 30% decline in late trade.

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