These Members Of Congress Want To Block Amazon's Acquisition Of iRobot: Here's Why

Zinger Key Points
  • The FTC is reviewing the acquisition of iRobot by Amazon.
  • Members of Congress are calling on the FTC to reject the acquisition.
These Members Of Congress Want To Block Amazon's Acquisition Of iRobot: Here's Why

Several members of the U.S. Congress issued a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the announced acquisition of iRobot Corporation IRBT by Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN.

Here’s why the lawmakers have concerns over the purchase.

What Happened:letter recommending the FTC reject the planned acquisition of iRobot by Amazon.com was signed by some members of Congress.

“I have serious concerns about the Amazon-iRobot deal — dominant companies like Amazon shouldn’t be allowed to just buy their way out of competing,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Axios. “The FTC should oppose this proposed merger to protect competition, lower consumer prices, and rein in Amazon’s well-documented anticompetitive activities.”

The letter argued the acquisition could “harm consumers and reduce competition” in the home robotics segment.

“Given Amazon’s record of infringing on consumers’ privacy, and their ongoing history of anticompetitive mergers to increase their monopoly power, the FTC should use its authority to oppose the Amazon - iRobot transaction,” the letter read.

iRobot has a dominant market share in the smart vacuum market of around 75%, which could greatly impact competitors according to the letter.

The iRobot acquisition came after Amazon made several acquisitions in the home appliances space, as pointed out by the letter. This included Blink and Ring.

The letter stated Amazon had a history of using a strategy of acquiring companies with strong market share and crushing its rivals by offering discounts and utilizing its huge customer base. The letter called this “copy-acquire-kill.”

Data privacy concerns were also mentioned in the letter with iRobot giving Amazon access to mapping technology inside consumers’ homes. The letter said the acquisition of iRobot combined with ownership of Ring and Blink would give Amazon “eyes and ears inside the homes.”

The letter was signed by Warren along with the following members of Congress:

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY)

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)

Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL)

Rep. Pamila Jayapal (D-WA)

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)

Related Link: What Analysts Are Saying About Amazon's iRobot Acquisition 

Why It’s Important: Amazon’s acquisition was already under an extensive review by the FTC and could face several challenges before approval.

Lina Khan, who chairs the FTC, has previously written antitrust concerns about Amazon, according to Axios. Amazon previously asked for immunity in rulings from Khan, given her past history of criticizing the company.

Amazon’s $1.7 billion acquisition would pay shareholders of iRobot $61 per share.

One big question about the acquisition would be if Amazon would be forced to continue selling iRobot devices through competitors' platforms instead of making the devices exclusive to Amazon’s e-commerce platform. This is one concern raised by the letter with the past acquisition of Kiva robotic technology becoming exclusive to Amazon’s warehouses after the deal closed. Kiva previously sold robots for warehouses to other companies.

The inclusion of Khan in the case by the FTC could lead to appeals and complaints from Amazon if the deal doesn’t go through as the company can make a case that she has a biased opinion of the company.

The acquisition is likely to see several antitrust complaints and could take a long time to get approval. The deal might also be rejected, which could send shares of iRobot down.

AMZN, IRBT Price Action: Amazon shares are down 3.24% to $114.19 on Thursday versus a 52-week range of $101.26 to $188.11.

iRobot shares are down 0.71% to $57.05. Shares of iRobot were down 16% year-to-date and trade at a 7% discount to the acquisition price.

Photo: Koshiro K via Shutterstock

 

Posted In: AxiosElizabeth WarrenFederal Trade CommissionFTCiRobotJesus GarciaKatie PorterMark PocanMondaire JonesPamila JayapalSen. Elizabeth WarrenSmart HomeGovernmentM&ANewsRegulationsPoliticsSmall CapTop StoriesGeneral

11 Best Black Friday Deals on Amazon

11 Best Black Friday Deals on Amazon

The best Black Friday deals from Amazon are still coming hard and fast because the holiday is not yet upon us and the mega-retailer prefers to keep consumers on the hook for as long as possible—spending as much money as possible. 

To that end, here are some of the best Black Friday deals from Amazon that you might want to consider today.

Calphalon 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set

Regular Price: $172

Sale Price: $138.88

Calphalon’s 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set is designed with stainless steel, stay-cool handles along with pour spouts. The nonstick surface is PFOA-free and built with hard-anodized aluminum that is both durable and conducts heat extremely well. The set includes 2 fry pans, a sauce pan with cover, saute pan with cover and large stock pot with cover.

Apple AirPods 2nd Generation

Regular Price: $144

Sale Price: $85.49

The 2nd Generation AirPods from Apple connect to all Apple devices and give you an enhanced listening experience. Plus, they come with a case that keeps them safe and allows you to charge them in a secure environment. With over 24 hours of battery life, access to Siri and easy setup, you can start listening to your favorite tunes or podcasts today.

Adidas Ultraboost 21 Running Shoes

Regular Price: $129.98

Sale Price: $89.98

The Adidas Women’s Ultraboost 21 running shoe is perfect for anyone who likes a short run, maybe a 5K, half marathon or more. Coming in several colors and styles, you can slip these shoes on, enjoy the cushioned outsole, sink into the supple insole and secure laces.

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer

Regular Price: $129.99

Sale Price: $97.83

The Ninja AF101 Air Fryer allows you to crisp, roast, reheat and even dehydrate food products faster and cheaper than ever before. It has a 4-quart capacity and offers a wide temperature range along with several time settings so that you can customize each dish to your needs. Plus, all the parts are dishwasher safe.

Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones

Regular Price: $199.95

Sale Price: $99

Beats by Dr. Dre are among the best headphones on the market, and the Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones include the Apple W1 chip, Class 1 Bluetooth and 40 hours of battery time. These headphones even have a built-in microphone and offer an adjustable fit so that you can be comfortable whether you’re listening to an Android or iOS device.

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

Regular Price: $198.98

Sale Price: $175.98

The Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner allows you to keep your home spotless and clean up after your pets. The cleaner comes with the Hoover Paws and Claws Deep shampoo and a storage mat to keep the floor dry once it’s put away.

LG CordZero Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum

Regular Price: $999.00

Sale Price: $851.71

The LG CordZero Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum and Wet Mop All in One Tower is designed to work in homes with several pets or children and clean up all the messes that life brings. The battery lasts up to 2 hours, and there’s an extra removable battery that gives you even more cleaning time and power.

Breville Fresh and Furious Blender

Regular Price: $278.60

Sale Price: $199.95

Breville, a top name in blenders and juicers, offers the Fresh and Furious Blender, featuring 50-ounce capacity, Vac Q technology, pre-programmed cycles, LCD display and lid with pull ring. With the Fresh and Furious Blender, you can make everything from a smoothie to a soup and everything in between.

Hot Tools Professional 2000 Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer

Regular Price: $89.99

Sale Price: $55.63

The Hot Tools Professional 2000 Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer is designed for professional use, but it works perfectly in the home. With 1875 watts of power, 6 heat and speed settings and a lightweight design, you can easily style your hair and utilize the diffuser, cut back on the frizz and stretch the 8 ft cord for maximum functionality.

Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket

Regular Price: $160

Sale Price: $97.38

The Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket from Columbia is designed to be light for everyday use, but it’s heavy enough to protect you from the cold. The plush fleece lining, security pocket, water resistant fabric, 2-way zipper, and zippered hand pockets make the jacket both protective and functional.

ConAir InfinitiPro Hair Dryer

Regular Price: $49.99

Sale Price: $29.99

ConAir is one of the biggest names in hair and beauty, and the InfinitPro is an 1875 watt hair dryer designed for professionals with ceramic technology. The dryer comes with a diffuser and concentrator, and it allows you to blow out your hair just the way they would at the salon.

Deals the Experts Are Hoping For

Experts believe that Amazon’s Black Friday sale could linger for quite some time. It all started with the Prime Early Access sale on October 11 and 12. Previously, Amazon has offered the “Epic Deals” sale that ran through late October. 

This is to say that any sale could come up at any time. 

Even so, those monitoring Amazon are looking forward to a few potential deals, including:

  • Apple Watch
  • AirPods (any generation)
  • MacBook Pro
  • Large, underpriced TVs
  • Amazon Echo
  • More small home appliances (Dyson or Shark vacuums, Instant Pots, etc.) 

While these predictions are based on last year’s Amazon Black Friday Sale, it’s important to remember that most Black Friday sales are fairly consistent and push the products that are most likely to sell.

 

Featured image sourced from Shutterstock

Posted In: Partner ContentGeneral