European regulators: Amazon’s iRobot could harm competition in market


(MENAFN) European regulators have voiced reservations about Amazon's planned acquisition of robot vacuum manufacturer iRobot, stating that it could potentially harm competition in the market. The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union and a key antitrust enforcer, disclosed its "preliminary view" on the deal following an investigation initiated in July. This announcement led to a more than 17 percent drop in shares of iRobot Corp., based in Bedford, Massachusetts, renowned for its circular Roomba vacuum.

The primary concern raised by European regulators revolves around the potential impact on competition in Amazon's marketplace. The commission highlighted that Amazon's marketplace is a crucial platform for the sale of robot vacuum cleaners, particularly in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. If the acquisition proceeds, there are apprehensions that Amazon may have the incentive to impede iRobot's competitors from effectively competing on its platform.

According to the European Commission, Amazon might adopt strategies to limit a competitor's visibility on its marketplace or restrict access to certain labels, such as the coveted "Amazon's choice," which often attracts more shoppers. There are concerns that Amazon could take actions to make it challenging for competitors to sell their products on its platform, potentially raising advertising and selling costs for iRobot's rivals.

The regulatory scrutiny and raised concerns about the potential anti-competitive implications of the acquisition have prompted investors to react, leading to a significant decline in iRobot's stock value. The European Commission's preliminary stance underscores the importance of maintaining fair competition within digital marketplaces and preventing dominant players from engaging in practices that could stifle competition.

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