Amazon has agreed to buy iRobot Corp., the company behind the Roomba robotic vacuum, in a deal worth $1.7 billion.
Roomba will be added to Amazon’s already lengthy list of smart home products, led by Echo and Dot devices and the Ring doorbell.
The purchase is Amazon’s fourth-largest acquisition, after the $13.7 billion deal to buy grocery chain Whole Foods, the $8.5 billion purchase of movie studio MGM and the agreement to buy One Medical,a chain of primary care clinics. Amazon will pay $61 per share for iRobot, in an all-cash transaction.
The Roomba is the most well-known of iRobot’s cleaning devices, which also include robotic mops and air purifiers. Amazon will bring the Roomba, cleaning devices, and other smart home devices together using its Alexa virtual assistant.
“We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, said in a statement.
In the second quarter of 2022, iRobot reported revenue of $255.4 million, a 30% fall from the previous year. Amazon’s second quarter result disappointed, as the company reported its slowest growth in more than two decades.
The technology behind iRobot’s cleaning equipment has raised some concerns among privacy advocates and digital rights groups, as the tools are also hoovering up spatial data used to map customers’ homes. Amazon has also been under fire recently as it was reported the firm had handed over footage from Ring doorbells 11 times in the past year, without users’ permission.
As more connected devices enter the home, technology companies like Amazon run the risk of alienating customers with over-zealous data-collection techniques and intrusive “always-listening” products. According to data from Statista, revenue in the smart home market is projected to reach $115.7 billion this year.