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Amazon’s purchase of iRobot is getting the FTC treatment

Particularly, the Lina Khan remedy

Huge Tech corporations have consolidated their main positions in numerous industries by making strategic and generally downright anti-competitive acquisitions. The Federal Commerce Fee has been holding a eager eye on Huge Tech — much more so since Lina Khan, a contest hawk, was sworn in because the company’s chair in June 2021. Quick ahead to August this yr when Amazon said it would acquire iRobot, the corporate behind the wildly well-liked Roomba robotic vacuum. Traders floated considerations about whether or not the deal would draw regulatory scrutiny and it looks as if these considerations have been validated with the FTC now searching for additional clarification on Amazon’s cope with iRobot.


iRobot confirmed the event in a notice filed with the Securities and Alternate Fee saying that the FTC has sought “extra info and documentary supplies” from the corporate and Amazon. Whereas this does not essentially imply the tip of the merger, it actually highlights the FTC’s willingness to look into allegations of anti-competitive practices by Big Tech companies. Amazon hasn’t commented on the company’s request for extra info. The FTC did not have a lot to say both.

As CNET notes, Amazon can be awaiting regulatory approval for its acquisition of One Medical, an organization owned by 1Life Healthcare, and a sign of Amazon’s rising ambitions within the healthcare sector.

Amazon’s announcement of the iRobot acquisition in August was greeted with criticism by organizations like Coloration of Change, the Worldwide Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Combat for the Future, who wrote a joint open letter addressing fears of Amazon amassing giant swathes of information from Roomba customers. The letter additionally voiced considerations in regards to the firm buying an trade rival to solidify its place available in the market.

Amazon has been accused of bullying distributors and producers who use its e-commerce platform in several methods reminiscent of taking away buy buttons for a vendor’s product listings if the corporate discovered the seller promoting the identical product at a lower cost on a competing website. The state of California is suing Amazon for this conduct (through TechCrunch). Buying a market-leading competitor would give Amazon extra leeway to bump off different gamers within the house.

Previous to being appointed the FTC chair, Lina Khan was a authorized scholar who carefully studied antitrust complaints towards Huge Tech corporations like Amazon, Google, and others. Amazon believes it is a battle of curiosity and has requested Khan to recuse herself from any investigations involving the corporate. The FTC formally began its assessment of the Amazon-iRobot merger earlier this month (through Reuters) and is now searching for extra info associated to the deal.

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