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Amazon and iRobot receive second request from FTC about planned merger

iRobot Roomba 980 is shown in a demo room at iRobot in Bedford.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/file

Amazon and iRobot each received a second request from the Federal Trade Commission for additional information and materials regarding their proposed $1.7 billion merger, according to a regulatory document filed on Tuesday.

Bedford-based iRobot, which makes the Roomba vacuum and other home robots, said “both parties expect to promptly respond” to the request and “continue to work cooperatively with the FTC in its review.”

The FTC request delays the acquisition from closing while the agency examines the deal, which was expected to face regulatory scrutiny. Amazon and iRobot are “bracing for a potentially lengthy, arduous investigation,” according to a recent Politico report that cited two people with knowledge of the matter.


Staff at the FTC “typically engage in negotiations (sometimes quite extensive) with merging companies” as part of the second request process, according to the agency.

Bruce Hoffman, former head of the bureau of competition at the FTC, told Axios last week, “When you get a second request, it’s a huge event.”

“Suddenly your transaction goes from closing in five weeks to closing in a year,” he said.

The FTC is expected to look into multiple anti-competitive aspects of the iRobot deal, including whether it will give Amazon an unfair advantage in the smart-home device market. Data privacy experts are also concerned that the consumer data collected by the Roomba vacuum could give Amazon an advantage over other online retailers.

Both iRobot and Amazon have told the Globe that data collected by the Roomba will not be used for targeted advertising or marketing purposes.

Amazon has also received a second request from the FTC regarding its proposed deal to buy health care service One Medical.

Anissa Gardizy can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8 and on Instagram @anissagardizy.journalism.