FTC reviewing Amazon’s $1.7 billion deal to buy iRobot

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. acquisition / ˌæk wəˈzɪʃ ən / (n.) – the act of obtaining something, such as a building, a company, possessions, etc.

    The international car company’s acquisition of X Auto, a local car manufacturer, was reported on TV.

  2. merger / ˈmɜr dʒər / (n.) – the act or process of combining two organizations or companies to become one business

    Tel-Star is created from the merger of Pantelecom and SolarComm.

  3. call for (something) / kɔl fɔr / (phrasal v.) – to ask for an action to be done

    The League of Working Mothers called for better health care packages from companies.

  4. antitrust / ˌæn tiˈtrʌst / (adj.) – relating to stopping big companies from working together to do unfair business practices

    Our country’s antitrust laws prevented the big three oil companies from becoming a single corporation that sells gas.

  5. further / ˈfɜr ðər / (v.) – to help something become more successful

    The invention of the rocket furthered our efforts to explore space.


Read the text below.

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Amazon’s $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot, the latest deal that’s under scrutiny by the regulators amid growing concerns about the company’s market power.

In a regulatory filing, iRobot said both it and Amazon received a request for additional information in connection with an FTC review of the merger. Earlier, securities regulators made a similar request to Amazon and One Medical, the primary health care company the e-commerce giant is planning to buy for $3.9 billion.

Both Amazon and iRobot said they would cooperate with the FTC’s review, which delays the completion of a deal. Following an investigation, the agency can challenge a merger in court, seek remedies or do nothing, which allows the deal to close. The agency says it retains the right to challenge a deal even after it closed.

Shortly after the deal was announced in early August, groups calling for stricter antitrust regulations called on the FTC to block the merger, arguing it furthered Amazon’s dominance in the smart home market.

Privacy advocates have also voiced concerns the Seattle company will suck up more information on consumers from Roombas, iRobot’s popular vacuum cleaners that can remember a home’s floor plans. They say that feature makes it more possible for Amazon to target consumers with ads. Amazon has said it won’t do that.

iRobot and Amazon both declined to comment.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Amazon’s $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot amid concerns about market power and privacy. Do you think it’s bad for a company to have so much market power and access to data? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Would you still support (ex. buy products, recommend to friends) a company under investigation? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Privacy advocates say that Roomba’s ability to remember floor plans can help Amazon target consumers with ads, but Amazon said it won’t do that. What do you think about this? Discuss.
  • Knowing that some automatic vacuum cleaners can remember your house’s floor plan, would you still buy one? Why or why not? Discuss.