Amazon acquires Roomba-maker iRobot in $1.7 billion deal – The Washington Post


Amazon will acquire iRobot in a $1.7 billion all-cash deal, the companies announced Friday, expanding the e-commerce giant’s array of robotic and smart home devices.

The $61 a share acquisition of iRobot — best known for its robotic vacuum Roomba — highlights Amazon’s continued push into the home. From fitness wearables to streaming devices to its Alexa digital assistant, Amazon has advanced a lineup of devices under an ecosystem that ties consumers more tightly to the company and its services. Last year, it introduced Astro, a $1,000-plus robot meant to ferry around small items and keep its cameras peeled for intruders.

The proposed deal is also a continuation of Amazon’s business strategy to expand market share in different product categories through acquisitions. Ring, the maker of the video door bell, and the home security product Blink both merged with Amazon as the company expands its list of gadgets and home-centric offerings. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The next generation of home robots will be more capable — and perhaps more social

The planned deal comes just two weeks after Amazon announced the purchase of primary care provider One Medical for $3.9 billion, in a major expansion of the tech company’s health-care ambitions. One of its largest acquisitions ever, the tie-up will give Amazon a physical network of health-care offices and providers and bolsters the company’s existing health-care portfolio, which includes an online pharmacy and Amazon Care, a virtual and in-home urgent care service.

Shares of iRobot surged nearly 20 percent following the announcement Friday morning.

“We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices. “Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive.”

Amazon’s offer of $61 a share represents a premium of more than 20 percent for iRobot.

Founded in 1990 by roboticists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, iRobot offers an array of automated vacuums and mops, as well as air purifies and handheld vacuums. Its signature Roomba, which retails for as much as $1,000, learns the contours and corners of floors and can detect objects, offering connectivity to Wifi-networks and smartphones and can be summoned by voice-activated smart home devices. The company began trading on the Nasdaq in 2005.


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