Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Republican Representative James Comer, has initiated an investigation into the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) alignment with the European Commission, which resulted in the termination of Amazon.com’s $1.4 billion acquisition of iRobot Corp. The inquiry surrounds concerns that the FTC’s collaborative efforts with European antitrust regulators undermine America’s stance in the global personal robotics sector, potentially benefiting competitors like China. Comer has requested documentation of the FTC’s communications with the European Commission to understand the extent of their cooperation. Amazon and iRobot, facing antitrust obstacles in both the U.S. and Europe, withdrew their merger plans in January. The decision led to substantial corporate restructuring for iRobot, including a 31% reduction in its workforce and the resignation of founder Colin Angle as CEO. The European Union’s competition authority, led by Margrethe Vestager, had warned that the merger could potentially stifle competition within the personal robotics market by limiting rival’s access to Amazon’s platform. Additionally, sources revealed that the FTC was set to veto the deal prior to the announcement of its abandonment. The collapse of this deal highlights the intensifying scrutiny of major tech acquisitions and poses questions about the balance between antitrust enforcement and international competitiveness.

E-Commerce, Consumer Electronics, Regulatory and Legal,United States, European Union

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