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Amazon is buying Roomba maker iRobot for $1.7 billion – AFR

Amazon on Friday announced a $1.7 billion deal to buy maker of robot vacuum cleaner Roomba in a merger that would impact the tech giant’s artificial intelligence and smart home ambitions.

U.S.-based iRobot is a global company that builds robots and “smart home” innovations and introduced Roomba self-cleaning vacuums a decade ago, Amazon said in a press release.

“Over many years, the iRobot team has demonstrated their ability to reinvent the way people clean with incredibly practical and inventive products,” said Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices.

Amazon’s deal to buy iRobot for $61 a share, along with assuming the company’s debt, is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Colin Angle will remain chief executive of iRobot after the purchase.

The acquisition “bolsters Amazon’s interest and market position in robotics and home automation and underscores the strategic value of AI,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Baird, in a note to investors.

The Massachusetts-based company has a 30-year track record in robotics and the underlying software like mapping and navigation, Sebastian said.

Amazon has invested in smart home and automation technologies with acquisitions like Ring doorbells, Kiva warehouse robots, and self-driving startup Zoox.

“With Alexa and at its core, Amazon continues to prioritize opportunities for smart home development,” said Sebastian.

“MGM even fits in as it supports more Prime Video on home entertainment devices.”

Amazon struck an $8.45 billion deal earlier this year to buy legendary MGM studios and boosted its streaming ambitions with a catalog featuring the James Bond and Rocky movie franchises.

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