FTC Eyes Amazon's Roomba Acquisition, Demands More Information

Amazon's planned $1.7 buyout of automatic vacuum cleaner Roomba is coming in for scrutiny by the The Federal Trade Commission, according to a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Roomba parent company iRobot.

The filing, made Tuesday, says the FTC issued a second request to iRobot as well as Amazon for “information and documentary materials” in connection with the agency's review of the deal.

“Both parties expect to promptly respond to the second request and to continue to work cooperatively with the FTC in its review of the merger,” the filing states.

Amazon declined to comment on the FTC's move.

News of the agency's move comes one week after more than two dozen advocacy groups urged the agency to block the deal, arguing that it threatens both privacy and competition.

“There is no more private space than the home. Yet with this acquisition, Amazon stands to gain access to extremely intimate facts about our most private spaces that are not available through other means, or to other competitors,” Public Citizen, Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law and others said in a letter to the FTC.



The groups added that the deal could bolster Amazon's position in the internet-of-things market, arguing that the company “already dominates the smart home device market” through Alexa and associated products, including the Ring doorbell.

On Tuesday, Public Citizen cheered news of Amazon's move. 

"By making a second request, the agency has signaled it shares concerns voiced by the advocacy community about the deal’s threat to fair markets and its potential to allow full scale corporate surveillance of our home," Matt Kent, competition policy advocate at the organization, stated.

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