Amazon is buying Roomba maker iRobot for $1.7 billion

Amazon is buying Roomba maker iRobot for $1.7 billion
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Amazon devices are listening, watching, and soon they’ll be cleaning up after you.

The e-commerce giant will acquire iRobot, best known for its Roomba robot vacuum, in a $1.7 billion all-cash deal, the latest step in its move into the home. From fitness wear to streaming devices to the Alexa digital assistant, Amazon has refined its lineup of devices under an ecosystem that connects consumers more closely with the company and its services. It was introduced last year Astro, over $1,000 the robot was meant to ferry around small items and keep their cells clean for intruders.

The deal announced on Friday is also a continuation of Amazon’s business strategy of expanding market share in various product categories through acquisitions. He He lifted the ringwhich manufactures video doorbells and other smart-home technologies in February 2018 and before Wink, manufactures home security cameras and doorbells. It also stunned the grocery industry when it announced its acquisition in 2017 Whole Foods MarketA deal worth $13.7 billion.

(Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The next generation of humanoid robots will be more capable and perhaps even more social

The move comes just two weeks after Amazon announced that it will acquire One Medical, a primary care provider for $3.9 billion as part of a major expansion of the tech company’s healthcare ambitions. The merger, one of its largest acquisitions, gives Amazon a physical network of health offices and providers and strengthens its existing health portfolio, which includes an online pharmacy and Amazon Care, virtual and home urgent care. service.

Amazon’s $61 a share offer is 22 percent above Thursday’s closing price of $49.99. Shares of iRobot rose nearly 19.1 percent to close at $59.54 on Friday.

“We know that saving time is important, and household chores require valuable time that can be better spent doing what customers love,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices. “Over the years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with incredibly practical and inventive products.”

Founded in 1990 by roboticists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, iRobot offers a range of automated vacuums and mops, as well as air purifiers and handheld vacuums. Its signature Roomba, which retails for under $1,000, learns floor contours and corners and can detect objects, offers connectivity to Wi-Fi networks and smartphones, and can be summoned by voice-activated smart home devices. The company started trading on Nasdaq in 2005.

Despite being the top name in home robotics, iRobot has had a rough year. It was reported on Friday second quarter It earned $255.4 million, which is 30 percent less than the previous period. It reported a net loss of $43.4 million for the three-month period ended July 2.

The company also plans to move some non-core engineering roles to lower-cost regions and cut 10 percent of its workforce, about 140 workers, as part of a cost-cutting plan, according to the earnings report.

The company withdrew its financial outlook for 2022 in May and suspended all other guidance on future performance, citing “ongoing disruptions and uncertainty that could affect the company’s outlook.”

iRobot’s products, which map out its customers’ most intimate spaces, will add to Amazon’s product lineup. follow the personand the people in it.

What started as a microphone on a speaker has evolved into a growing genre of devices to make household life more enjoyable. Last September, at the company’s annual fall press event, Amazon unveiled a 15-inch wall-mounted version of the Echo Show, which monitors and listens to your home, along with a number of other products and services that consumers monitor in any way. anticipating their needs.

The development of such technology highlights the increasing tolerance of consumers for sensors and cameras trained in their daily activities. This evolution has drawn criticism from privacy advocates and concerned consumers. It also highlights how tech giants see the home as another platform to mine a range of services and personal data.

Amazon will acquire iRobot’s net debt under the terms of the deal, which requires approval from regulators and the robot maker’s shareholders. Colin Angle will remain as CEO of iRobot.

Amazon shares fell 1.2 percent to $140.80 on Friday, giving it a market value of $1.4 trillion.

Last week, the Seattle-based giant reported a second-quarter loss of $2.03 billion, or 20 cents per share, due to a $3.9 billion reduction in its investment in electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive, the Associated Press reported. . But Amazon also reported better-than-expected revenue of $121.2 billion. second quarter.

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