Amazon is buying Roomba maker iRobot for $1.7 billion in cash

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,237   +158
Staff member
TL;DR: Amazon in a surprise announcement said it has agreed to acquire Roomba maker iRobot. The all-cash transaction is valued at approximately $1.7 billion, or $61 per share, and represents a 22 percent premium over iRobot's closing price of $49.99 at the end of trading on Thursday.

The deal gives Amazon a stronger foothold in the field of robots. Last year, the e-commerce giant launched a consumer home robot named Astro designed to serve as a mobile security camera, an entertainment hub and a communications tool.

The Wi-Fi connected, Snapdragon-powered bot features stereo speakers, dual cameras, a 10-inch touchscreen and even a USB-C port. Astro can only be purchased by invite and will set you back $999.99 during the ongoing introductory period. After that, expect to pay $1,449.99 for an opportunity that not everyone believes is ready for mainstream audiences.

Amazon has also invested in other gadgets designed to make life easier such as the Ring doorbell and its array of Alexa-powered speakers. Amazon's acquisition of iRobot, however, is substantially larger than Ring and represents one of the largest moves yet by newly minted CEO Andy Jassy, who replaced founder Jeff Bezos at the helm a little over a year ago.

In fact, the iRobot deal ranks as Amazon's fourth largest to date behind Whole Foods, MGM and One Medical at $13.7 billion, $8.45 billion and $3.9 billion, respectively.

Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices, said they are excited to work with the iRobot team to invent in ways that make customers' lives easier and more enjoyable.

iRobot was founded way back in 1990 by Colin Angle, Rodney Brooks and Helen Greiner, who previous worked in MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab. Its first robotic vacuum cleaners for consumers arrived in 2002, and the company went public in 2005. iRobot also has a line of mopping robots for hard-surface floors and has added multiple features to its vacuums including automatic dust bin emptying.

Per usual, the deal will be subject to customary closing conditions including shareholder and regulatory approval. iRobot's Colin Angle will remain as CEO post-acquisition, we're told.

Image credit: Kindel Media

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VitalyT

Posts: 6,277   +6,846
I think I will speak for most of the readers here, we'd rather read about Rumba products and their reviews here, pertinent to technical news, and not financial or business news that shouldn't even be here.

I've always had a lot of interest in their products, but Techspot never covered those, sadly.
 

passwordistaco

Posts: 270   +642
Now Amazon will have the entire layout of your home. Once they read your medical records and process your prescription, their delivery drone will know exactly where your medicine cabinet is.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 2,024   +1,220
Now Amazon will have the entire layout of your home. Once they read your medical records and process your prescription, their delivery drone will know exactly where your medicine cabinet is.
You joke, but I am willing to bet that data about home layouts was at least 50% of the reason for the purchase. That kind of data is actually pretty valuable if you want to design a robot to navigate a home environment.
 

Prrredictable

Posts: 46   +25
I think I will speak for most of the readers here, we'd rather read about Rumba products and their reviews here, pertinent to technical news, and not financial or business news that shouldn't even be here.

I've always had a lot of interest in their products, but Techspot never covered those, sadly.
With all due respect, you don't speak for me in the slightest. This story is very clearly tech newsworthy.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 880   +1,519
Amazon is going to slowly take over the automated robots....pretty soon we'll all be living in that Xfiles episode "Rm9sbG93ZXJz".
 

sreams

Posts: 307   +437
I think I will speak for most of the readers here, we'd rather read about Rumba products and their reviews here, pertinent to technical news, and not financial or business news that shouldn't even be here.

I've always had a lot of interest in their products, but Techspot never covered those, sadly.

This acquisition will have a direct effect on the tech in these products.
 

mctommy

Posts: 422   +148
I think I will speak for most of the readers here, we'd rather read about Rumba products and their reviews here, pertinent to technical news, and not financial or business news that shouldn't even be here.

I've always had a lot of interest in their products, but Techspot never covered those, sadly.

I've had one for 3-4 years. It works great on hardwood floors - this is the standard one and not their mop one. There are a few caveat but they vastly improved their mapping capabilities so you don't need those "virtual walls" anymore. I run mine 3x a week and it keeps our top floor clean and relatively dust free. The caveats revolve around making sure that small objects are out of the way or off the floor (think small kid toys) and that some piece of furniture may trigger roomba to think that its falling off a cliff - foot of my sit/stand table. It does its job well, I have to empty the small bin every two cleanings.
 

Dr Roboto

Posts: 25   +35
Food for thought.
1) Do we really need an Alexa powered version of the Roomba selling us stuff as it cleans the floors?
2) Do we really need an Alexa powered version of the Roomba monitoring everything we do and say as it cleans the floors?
3) Did you know that iRobot used to also have a significant military defense division?
4) Have any of you every watched Pixar's Walle? Buy-n-Large anyone?
 

bviktor

Posts: 906   +1,322
iRobot is all made in China anyway, so now I'll only have more reasons to avoid these.

Get yourself a Samsung.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 2,024   +1,220
Now I have a burning curiosity to pin down peak robovac. What is the quintessential Model M of robotic vacuums?? 🤔
I'd say the 800 or 900 series Roomba. Rollers handled the dirt & hair perfectly, battery had enough life to do most floor plans (obviously, more carpet and/or more dirt = shorter run time, so that could vary), and navigation was about as good as it was going to get before you began needing cameras. The 800 series has no internet connection, while the 900 series had a basic one (compared to the models available today; it was basically used to remote start/stop the cleaning cycle, rather than fully map your home), so take your pick based on that.
 

Hodor

Posts: 48   +26
"Dear tech support, every time I have sex with my lady, our Roomba turns on, comes to the bed and it almost looks as if it's watching us. Is that normal?"

"It's perfectly normal. Roomba is just checking that everything is okay. However, for just $99 you can permanently switch off that behavior for 2 weeks."