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Amazon to buy Roomba maker iRobot in $1.7bn deal

Amazon has signed a merger agreement that will see it acquire iRobot, best known for its robotic vacuum Roomba. The e-commerce giant will acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.7bn, including iRobot's net debt.
Source: iRobot
Source: iRobot

“We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” said Dave Limp, SVP 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 – from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin. Customers love iRobot products – and I’m excited to work with the iRobot team to invent in ways that make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable.”

Smart home data gold

As Wired reports, iRobot started out building robots for the US military, but 20 years ago added consumer vacuums to the mix when it introduced the first Roomba vacuum in 2002. It has also introduced robotic mops and pool cleaners. iRobot now defines itself as a global consumer robot company that designs and builds "thoughtful robots and intelligent home innovations".

According to The Verge, "from a smart home perspective, it seems clear Amazon wants iRobot for the maps it generates to give it that deep understanding of our homes. The vacuum company has detailed knowledge of our floor plans and, crucially, how they change ... This type of data is digital gold to a company whose primary purpose is to sell you more stuff."

Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot commented on the deal, “Since we started iRobot, our team has been on a mission to create innovative, practical products that make customers’ lives easier, leading to inventions like the Roomba and iRobot OS. Amazon shares our passion for building thoughtful innovations that empower people to do more at home, and I cannot think of a better place for our team to continue our mission.”

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by iRobot’s shareholders and regulatory approvals. On completion, Colin Angle will remain as CEO of iRobot.

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