Amazon.com Inc. at the moment announced plans to accumulate robotic vacuum maker iRobot Corp. for $1.7 billion.
The transaction values publicly traded iRobot at $61 per share. The robotics firm’s shares, that are traded on the Nasdaq, closed at $49.99 on Wednesday.
Bedford, Massachusetts-based iRobot develops the favored Roomba sequence of robotic vacuums. The corporate launched the product line in 2002 and has since sold greater than 40 million models. The Roomba sequence competes in a market that additionally consists of rival merchandise from a number of different producers, together with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
To deal with the rising competitors, iRobot has been equipping its robotic vacuums with more and more subtle options. The corporate’s latest system, the Roomba j7+, features a software program platform dubbed iRobot OS that allows customers to specify prematurely which rooms the robotic ought to clear and when. The Roomba j7+ can even mechanically detect and keep away from obstacles.
“Since we began iRobot, our staff has been on a mission to create progressive, sensible merchandise that make prospects’ lives simpler, resulting in innovations just like the Roomba and iRobot OS,” mentioned iRobot Chief Govt Colin Angle. “Amazon shares our ardour for constructing considerate improvements that empower folks to do extra at dwelling, and I can not consider a greater place for our staff to proceed our mission.”
The acquisition of iRobot will purchase Amazon not solely a well-liked robotic vacuum line but in addition a number of different merchandise. Alongside the Roomba sequence, iRobot presents academic robots which might be used to show programming expertise, plus a line of handheld vacuums. Moreover, the corporate moved into the residential air air purifier market final 12 months by means of the purchase of Switzerland-based electronics maker Aeris Cleantec AG.
At the side of the information that it has agreed to be acquired by Amazon, iRobot at the moment released its second-quarter monetary outcomes. The corporate’s income declined from $365.6 million within the second quarter of 2021 to $255.4 million within the three months ended July 2. It attributed the income drop primarily to diminished demand from retailers.
The slowed demand skilled by iRobot might have helped Amazon purchase the corporate at a extra favorable worth level than would have been potential a couple of months in the past. Shares of iRobot’s inventory closed at $49.99 on Wednesday, down from $68 in the beginning of the 12 months.
The acquisition is poised to determine Amazon as one of many main gamers within the dwelling robotics market. Amazon already competes in that market with the Astro, an Alexa-equipped residential robotic introduced final 12 months. Astro can carry out quite a lot of duties together with transferring small objects between rooms.
The know-how that Amazon is about to acquire as a part of the iRobot acquisition will even improve its broader sensible dwelling portfolio. The corporate’s sensible dwelling portfolio consists of quite a few merchandise starting from thermostats to doorbells. A few of these merchandise are based mostly on one other acquisition, the $1 billion-plus purchase of Ring Inc. that Amazon introduced in 2018.
“We all know that saving time issues, and chores take treasured time that may be higher spent doing one thing that prospects love,” mentioned Dave Limp, senior vp of Amazon Gadgets. “Over a few years, the iRobot staff has confirmed its capacity to reinvent how folks clear with merchandise which might be extremely sensible and creative.”
Amazon makes use of robots extensively in its success facilities to course of e-commerce purchases. The corporate develops each its robots and the software program used to energy them in-house. After the acquisition of iRobot closes, Amazon may doubtlessly draw on its technical experience to assist improve the Roomba product lineup’s capabilities.
It’s additionally potential that the corporate will put money into increasing the Roomba lineup with extra merchandise. After Amazon acquired Ring in 2018, it introduced a number of new gadgets below the Ring model. Furthermore, the corporate has built-in Ring gadgets with a number of of its different sensible dwelling merchandise, an method that it may doubtlessly take with the Roomba product line as properly.