iRobot shareholders approve Amazon’s lowered acquisition bid

iRobot shareholders approve Amazon’s lowered acquisition bid

By Lucia Maffei

iRobot Corp. shareholders voted on Thursday morning to approve the revised merger deal with Inc., which comes with a 15% price decrease announced over the summer.

“We are pleased that our stockholders have overwhelmingly voted to approve the amended merger agreement between Amazon and iRobot,” said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO at iRobot, in a statement provided to the Business Journal this morning following the vote. “While we and Amazon continue to operate as separate companies until the deal is closed, we remain excited about the opportunity to work together with Amazon to continue innovating, bringing valuable products to customers, and making their lives easier.”

Late Thursday, a company filing revealed that there were 19.5 million votes in favor of the acquisition, and just 152,000 against, with 189,000 abstensions.

As of close of markets Thursday, shares of the Bedford-based Roomba maker (Nasdaq: IRBT) were trading flat at $37.72 each, giving the company a market capitalization of $1 billion.

The e-commerce giant (Nasdaq: AMZN) and iRobot agreed to the new price of $51.75 a share in July, about a year after the deal first became public as a $1.7 billion acquisition for $61 a share. The price drop reflected a $200 million debt facility iRobot took on to fund ongoing operations.

Thurday’s vote does not necessarily mean that the acquisition will close, as the merger still needs to clear regulatory steps.

Amazon never provided even a proposed timeline for closing the robot vacuum company’s purchase, which has faced extensive regulatory scrutiny.

The Federal Trade Commission sent both companies a so-called “second request,” which initiated what experts called an “onerous” and “very lengthy” process that could take up to a year to satisfy regulators.

Lawmakers led by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren are reportedly asking the FTC to reject the deal, citing the need to “protect competition.”

Meanwhile, European Commission regulators are also undertaking an in-depth investigation regarding competition and data access concerns related to the deal, and are expected to deliver a decision by Dec. 13. British antitrust regulators have already given the green light to the transaction.

The FTC led by chairwoman Lina Khan, an outspoken critic of Amazon’s business practices, is currently suing Amazon along with a coalition of 17 state attorneys general, including Massachusetts’s AG Andrea Joy Campbell.

The lawsuit, which is separate from the FTC’s investigation of the iRobot deal, alleges that the tech giant engages in practices that stifle competition and raise prices for consumers.

iRobot is in the top 50 of the Bay State’s largest public companies by revenue, with $1.18 billion last year. In the hours following the acquisition announcement in 2022, Amazon said it plans to keep iRobot based in Bedford.

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