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: Amazon to buy Roomba maker iRobot as ‘discount shopping’ spree continues

Just weeks after announcing its plans to buy the operator of One Medical health clinics, Inc. said it would be making another deal, this time for Roomba maker iRobot Corp..

The e-commerce giant plans to buy iRobot

for $61 a share in cash, in a deal that values the maker of robotic cleaning products at about $1.7 billion, including debt.

Shares of iRobot were up 19.1% in Friday morning trading to a recent $59.54. The stock closed Thursday at $49.99. Amazon’s stock

was off 0.3% Friday.

“Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive—from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin,” Amazon Devices senior vice president Dave Limp said in a release. “Customers love iRobot products—and I’m excited to work with the iRobot team to invent in ways that make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable.”

Amazon didn’t specify future plans for iRobot in the release, but it’s likely that the company has bigger plans in store beyond selling robotic vacuums, as iRobot also makes smart-home devices and mapping and navigation products.

The e-commerce giant “continues to put the pieces together for a fully-integrated smart home, which includes smart appliances, smart speakers, smart plugs, smart thermostats, smart lightbulbs, smart doors/locks, etc.,” Baird analyst Colin Sebastian wrote. “We’d like to see an automated lawn mower as well.”

Amazon’s ambitions seem to be growing more generally, after executives announced in late July that the company planned to acquire One Medical, which operates as 1Life Healthcare Inc.
in a deal valued at $3.9 billion including debt. That announcement had analysts speculating about possible new Prime benefits, though it also concerned privacy advocates.

“It is worth noting that this would be Amazon’s 4th largest deal of all time, assuming the recent acquisition of OneMedical goes through,” Bernstein analyst Mark Shmulik said in a note to clients. “This lends credence to the narrative that with lower valuations in the overall market, Amazon is opening its purse strings to go discount shopping.”

As of Thursday’s closing price, iRobot’s stock had tumbled 41.8% over the previous 12 months, while the S&P 500 index

had slipped 5.7%.

Separately, iRobot said it would lay off 140 employees, or about 10% of its workforce, as part of a cost-cutting plan aimed at saving up to $10 million this year and up to $40 million in 2023.

The company also reported a second-quarter net loss that widened to $43.4 million, or $1.60 a share, from $2.8 million, or 10 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding nonrecurring items, the adjusted per-share loss was 35 cents a share, to beat the FactSet per-share loss consensus of $1.57.

Revenue fell 30.2% to $255.4 million, well below the FactSet consensus of $304.4 million.

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