Amazon rows back on planned purchase of iRobot

29 Jan 2024

Image: © esp2k/

Amazon’s general counsel and SVP blamed regulators for the deal’s failure. He branded competition rules as ‘undue and disproportionate’.

Amazon has today (29 January) signed a mutual agreement with iRobot to terminate its planned acquisition of the Massachusetts-headquartered company. The decision to stop the deal was reached because it had no path to regulatory approval in the EU.

Representatives of Amazon and iRobot called the failure of the planned deal to follow through “disappointing”.

“We’re disappointed that Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot could not proceed,” said David Zapolsky, Amazon SVP and general counsel. Amazon initially struck the purchase deal with iRobot back in August 2022, under which it would have acquired the robotic vacuum maker for cash consideration. Amazon and iRobot planned to collaborate to innovate in the consumer robotics space.

“The termination of the agreement with Amazon is disappointing, but iRobot now turns toward the future with a focus and commitment to continue building thoughtful robots and intelligent home innovations that make life better, and that our customers around the world love,” said Colin Angle, founder of iRobot.

Zapolsky said that Amazon is a believer in “the future of consumer robotics in the home” and praised iRobot’s products.

“Amazon and iRobot were excited to see what our teams could build together, and we’re deeply grateful to everyone who worked tirelessly to try and make this collaboration a reality.”

Ripping into regulators

Zapolsky criticised rules and regulations for stifling the potential for innovation. “This outcome will deny consumers faster innovation and more competitive prices, which we’re confident would have made their lives easier and more enjoyable.

“Mergers and acquisitions like this help companies like iRobot better compete in the global marketplace, particularly against companies, and from countries, that aren’t subject to the same regulatory requirements in fast-moving technology segments like robotics.”

Zapolsky claimed that too many “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles discourage entrepreneurs” and he accused regulators of harming consumers and competition.

The EU had been investigating the deal since last year, but it had previously caught the attention of the FTC in the US. The UK’s competition regulator, the CMA, gave the deal the green light.

iRobot to lay off staff and CEO resigns

Despite his cheery statement about turning towards the future, Angle is to step down from his role as current CEO and chair of iRobot. The company wants to implement restructuring plans, which include staff layoffs. The restructuring was approved following the termination of the company’s deal with Amazon, a statement confirmed.

iRobot’s cuts will affect around 350 staff, which amounts to around 31pc of its total workforce. Glen Weinstein, iRobot’s executive VP and chief legal officer, has been appointed interim CEO, while Andrew Miller, lead independent director of the iRobot board, has been appointed as chair.

Angle will remain on the board until his current term expires in May of this year, and has promised to work with the new leadership as a senior advisor for up to 12 months to ensure a smooth transition.

Monday, 29th January 2024, 16.25pm: This article was updated to include additional information about planned layoffs and restructuring at iRobot following the termination of the deal with Amazon.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic