Amazon bets on the digital home by acquiring iRobot, the maker of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner | Economy

Tech giant Amazon has struck a deal to buy iRobot, maker of popular Roomba robot vacuum, as announced this Friday by the two companies. The group founded by Jeff Bezos will pay around 1,700 million in cash for the stock and debt of the Massachusetts company. With this acquisition, Amazon acquires an innovative product that is in line with its commitment to the digital and connected home and consumer robotics.

Amazon will pay $61 for each share of iRobot, a 22% premium to Thursday’s listing. The shares soared on the stock market on Friday in the heat of the announcement and are approaching the price of the offer, the closing of which is subject to the approval of the general meeting of shareholders and the approval of the authorities of regulation. iRobot founder and CEO Colin Angle will continue to lead the company after the purchase by Amazon.

The tech giant has a net cash position of approximately $37,000 million, so the operation does not involve a large economic effort. He takes advantage of a moment of relative weakness in the price of iRobot, whose action reached more than 120 dollars last year.

The company was founded in 1990 by three members of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Artificial Intelligence Lab who were experts in robotics. In more than 30 years of history, it has made robots to explore space or visit the Great Pyramid of Giza, but its great success has been a less glamorous device, the Roomba vacuum cleaner, launched in 2002 and which is immediately become the most successful domestic robot It has marketed several generations, and some of the most sophisticated models cost well over $1,000.

Sales, however, are not having their best time. That same Friday, the company published the results of its first half, which show a drop in sales from $669 million in the first half of last year to $547 million in the last half. The company also suffered an operating loss of $87 million, compared to 2021 earnings. iRobot says it suffered from order cuts, delays and unplanned cancellations. Added to this is the impact of the exchange rate, since the company generates more than two-thirds of its revenues outside the country and is penalized by the strength of the dollar. To deal with this situation, the company has announced a cost and workforce reduction plan which will result in the dismissal of 140 employees, or 10% of the group’s workforce.

Second purchase in a month

For Amazon, this is the second major purchase it has made in less than a month, following the acquisition of One Medical, an online healthcare company, for $3.9 billion. This seems to be an indication that the new CEO, Andy Jassy, ​​is ready to have a more aggressive acquisition policy.

iRobot products complement the e-commerce giant’s offering for the home, which revolves around Alexa and includes speakers, displays, tablets, doorbells, thermostats, security devices and health and a home robot, Astro, launched last year, with monitoring and entertainment functions, among others.

“We know that saving time is important and that tasks require valuable time that can be better spent on something customers love,” he said. by a statement Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices. “For many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent the way people clean with incredibly convenient and innovative products, cleaning when and where customers want it, avoiding common obstacles around the home. , to automatic bin emptying.. Customers love iRobot’s products and I’m excited to work with their team to invent ways to make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable.

For his part, Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, noted: “Amazon shares our passion for creating thoughtful innovations that empower people to do more at home, and I can’t think of a better place for our team to pursue our mission. I’m extremely excited to be part of Amazon and see what we can build together for customers in the years to come.

Leave a Comment