Amazon says it is in talks with regulators on Roomba vacuum maker deal

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Amazon said on Wednesday it is in talks with regulators on its $1.7 billion bid for iRobot Corp (IRBT.O), maker of the robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba, with the takeover likely to draw tough scrutiny due to regulatory concerns about deals by Big Tech.

The Financial Times reported earlier that the European Union is set to investigate the purchase that Amazon announced last August, adding that regulators have sent the e-commerce giant a series of detailed questions over the proposed transaction.

"We're working cooperatively with the relevant regulators in their review of the merger," an Amazon spokesperson said. The company declined to comment on the FT report.

The company has yet to formally seek approval from the European Commission, which in common with U.S. and UK antitrust regulators has become increasingly wary of giant companies acquiring smaller rivals.

The EU antitrust watchdog typically follows up a preliminary review of deals with a full-scale investigation if it has serious concerns.

The FT reported that the EU focus is on how iRobot's autonomous vacuum cleaner Roomba operates, particularly its ability to take pictures as it moves around a home,.

The potential move would follow the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's scrutiny of whether the transaction would increase Amazon's market power.

The Commission did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment. iRobot declined to comment.

Reporting by Samrhitha Arunasalam and Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru and Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Editing by Maju Samuel and Jan Harvey

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