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Amazon’s acquisitions worth $5 billion-plus under scrutiny

Amazon's acquisitions worth $5 billion-plus under scrutiny

E-commerce giant Amazon is facing larger scrutiny by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into its latest proposed acquisitions of robot vacuum maker iRobot and 1Life Healthcare, which operates primary care provider One Medical.

Amazon announced its proposed acquisition of One Medical for $3.9 billion in July and iRobot for $1.7 billion in August.

According to a report in Politico, the FTC has officially started a review of Amazon’s takeover of iRobot over antitrust concerns.

“The next step would be formally opening an in-depth probe of the iRobot deal, which the people said is expected given the detailed questions from agency officials,” the report mentioned.

The FTC is concerned that the data generated about a consumer’s home by iRobot’s Roomba vacuum will give Amazon an unfair advantage over market players.

“For example, Amazon could have an advantage with a consumer looking to buy a couch, by using detailed home maps generated by iRobot to suggest particular items,” the report said.

1Life Healthcare has also said that the FTC opened up an in-depth review of its takeover by Amazon.

Amazon did not comment on the FTC probes.

After the acquisition, iRobot laid off 10 per cent of its workforce — nearly 140 workers.

The company said that to better align its cost structure with near-term revenue, it is in the process of initiating a “restructuring of its operations”.

Amazon’s proposed acquisitions of One Medical and iRobot came after it bought movie studio MGM for $8.45 billion.

One Medical combines in-person care in inviting offices across the country with digital health and virtual care services, making it easier for patients to schedule appointments, renew prescriptions, access up-to-date health records, and advance health outcomes.

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