By Jennifer Korn
Amazon has agreed to buy iRobot, the maker of the popular Roomba vacuum, in an all-cash deal valued at about $1.7 billion, including debt, the two companies announced Friday.
The deal, which is pending approval from shareholders and regulators, has the potential to expand Amazon’s robotics lineup and deepen its presence in consumers’ homes. Last year, Amazon introduced a home robot called Astro. The $999 20-pound dog-like robot zooms from room to room, capturing live video and learning your habits.
“Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive,” said Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices. “I’m excited to work with the iRobot team to invent in ways that make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable.”
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After launching the first Roomba in 2002, iRobot went on to develop multiple generations of robot vacuums, mops and air purifiers that will now fall under Amazon’s product catalog.
For Amazon, the acquisition represents “a further foray into the market of home automation,” according to Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData, a data analytics and consulting firm.
“It is easy to see how Amazon will integrate products like Roomba into the Alexa and Prime ecosystems, so that people have one central point of monitoring and control for many tasks and activities,” he said.
The deal also represents the second notable billion-dollar acquisition from Amazon in as many weeks. The e-commerce giant entered into an agreement last month to buy primary healthcare provider One Medical in an all-cash deal valued at approximately $3.9 billion.
Shares of iRobot surged nearly 20% in pre-market trading Friday following the announcement.
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