James Comer, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, is initiating an inquiry into the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s role in the failed $1.4bn merger between Amazon and iRobot

The proposed merger was abandoned by Amazon and the robot vacuum manufacturer in January 2024 after it faced scrutiny from both European and US antitrust regulators. 

The agreement for the merger, initiated in August 2022, underwent a preliminary review, after which the FTC requested additional information on 19 September 2022.  

After the FTC’s investigation announcement, it was reported that the European Commission (EC) would also examine the proposal.

On 6 July 2023, the EC launched a detailed investigation into the merger. On 18 January 2024 it decided to block it.  

An FTC Commissioner then spoke at an antitrust conference in Brussels on 31 January, indicating that the FTC was prepared to do the same.

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In a letter addressed to the FTC, Comer accused the FTC of collaborating with the EC to thwart the Amazon-iRobot merger.  

James Comer said: ” The FTC’s actions indicate to American businesses that the FTC will work outside of US antitrust law by using the EC to realise its desired outcomes. 

“Instead of protecting American interests in the global market, the FTC appears to have actively coordinated with a foreign authority to block a merger which could have saved American jobs and promoted American innovation and standing in a vital market.” 

Following the collapse of the deal, iRobot announced a significant restructuring plan in January 2024 to reduce costs. 

This includes cutting 31% of its workforce – 350 jobs. CEO Colin Angle also departed from the company.