Amazon to buy Roomba for $1.7 billion

Hey Alexa, tell Roomba to vacuum the bedroom.

Amazon announced on Friday that it has reached an agreement buy iRobot Corp., maker of Roomba robot vacuum cleaners, for $1.7 billion, adding to its growing list of smart home products.

“We know time savings matter, and household chores take up precious time that is better spent doing things that customers love,” Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, said in a statement announcing the acquisition.

According to the announcement, Amazon will acquire iRobot, including its debt, for $61 per share in a cash deal. The purchase will be Amazon’s fourth-biggest acquisition since the company bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017. MGM Studios for $8.5 billion last year. Last month, Amazon announced a foray into medical services with an agreement spent $3.9 billion to acquire One Medicala network of primary health care clinics in the United States.

Roomba and other iRobot cleaning devices, including robotic mops and air purifiers, join Amazon’s portfolio of smart home devices, including Ring and Alexa doorbells, a virtual assistant and an Amazon speaker. iRobot also makes Root, an educational robot that allows children to experiment with programming.

Roomba first hit dirty floors in 2002, to the delight of lazy people and the surprise of pets. especially cats. New York Times described it as “easy, effective and fun” and a product that quickly became a “family member”.

The early $200 version struggled with corners and chair legs, even falling down stairs. But 20 years later, the Roomba j7 can, according to the company, recognize more than 80 common items (including cords and pet waste), return to the dock when chores are done, and then empty itself. The most expensive option sells for $999.99.

While iRobot is best known for its mobile cleaning equipment, the technology behind these tools also consumes a lot of the spatial data used to map users’ homes. Some groups of digital rights expressed concern that this data could help companies like Amazon learn about house sizes and even their contents, all the way down to the brand.

iRobot reported $255.4 million in revenue in the second quarter of 2022, down 30% from the previous year. Amazon reported $121.2 billion in revenue in the second quarter, up 7.2 percent from a year earlier. but slightly less than 7.3 percent revenue growth it reported in the first quarter of this year. It was Amazon’s slowest growth in more than two decades after the company began to ease its high pandemic requirements.