What you need to know
- Amazon is acquiring iRobot in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.7 billion.
- iRobot is the manufacturer of the popular robot vacuum Roomba.
- Colin Angle will remain as CEO of iRobot once the transaction is completed.
Amazon announced today that it is buying robot vacuum maker iRobot for approximately $1.7 billion in an all-cash deal, highlighting the online retail giant's desire to make a serious splash in the household robot market.
Colin Angle, iRobot's CEO, will remain at the helm of the company when the transaction is completed, though neither company has revealed when they expect that to happen. It largely depends on regulatory approval as well as whether iRobot’s shareholders will give their go signal.
Amazon said in a press release that it will acquire iRobot for $61 per share, with the deal covering iRobot’s net debt.
“We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love," said Dave Limp, Amazon senior vice president of devices. "Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive—from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin."
A team of MIT researchers founded iRobot back in 1990 with a primary focus on military robots. The company has become synonymous with household robots since it introduced the first Roomba in 2002.
At present, iRobot is known for many of the best robot vacuums. Meanwhile, Amazon isn't exactly a newcomer to the household robot market. Last year, it introduced Astro, a $1,000 robot that uses on-board processing and SLAM (simultaneous location and mapping) algorithms to intelligently map your home. However, Astro was overburdened with too many tasks to the point where it lacked the same concentration as Roomba.
Amazon has also had an established partnership with iRobot through Roomba's support for Alexa. The acquisition brings that relationship to the next level.
Nevertheless, the past year hasn't been without challenges for iRobot. The company posted a loss in the first quarter of 2022 globally compared to the same period last year. Regardless, its revenue in the United States increased by 33% during Q1 2022.
Angle previously said that iRobot had hoped to return to profitability and exceed its past expectations. With Amazon's backing, that dream will now be possible for iRobot, assuming the acquisition is completed.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.