• Amazon said yesterday that it is abandoning its planned acquisition of iRobot, manufacturer of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, which originally was valued at $1.7 billion.
The reason: Opposition to the deal from both the European Union and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
CNBC writes that "the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, launched a probe in July, saying that the proposed deal could result in Amazon hindering iRobot rivals from competing on Amazon’s online marketplace. The commission argued that Amazon could delist or reduce rival products’ prominence in search results or elsewhere."
The Wall Street Journal writes that "Amazon met last week with Federal Trade Commission senior staff, which told the company that they would recommend suing to block the transaction, according to people familiar with the matter."
The deal would have "added the popular Roomba vacuum into Amazon’s devices portfolio, which includes its Echo voice-activated speakers and Ring video doorbells. The deal would have been Amazon’s fourth-largest acquisition in its history, according to S&P Capital IQ," the Journal writes.
Amazon will have to pay iRobot a previously agreed-upon $94 million termination fee.
CNBC reports that iRobot "announced it would lay off 31% of its employees, around 350 people, and that its chair and CEO, Colin Angle, would step down effective immediately."
• From Bloomberg:
"New York City will create a new municipal department to contend with the skyrocketing number of electric bicycles, scooters, mopeds and motorbikes that race across the city’s streets to haul packages and deliver food, City Hall announced on Wednesday.
"In his State of the City address, Mayor Eric Adams proposed the creation of the Department of Sustainable Delivery, which would be tasked with regulating commercial delivery services that rely on two- and three-wheeled micromobility vehicles. These battery-powered machines are critical in the battle against pollution and traffic congestion, but their emergence has also stoked controversy: Debates rage around pedestrian and rider safety, the risks posed by e-bike battery fires and the rights of delivery workers."