Amazon’s buyout of iRobot and One Medical may take longer than expected. According to Politico and The Wall Street Journal, the Federal Trade Commission is reviewing both acquisitions. Announced within a month of each other, the deals are valued at $1.7 billion and $3.9 billion, respectively, and have the potential to reshape two markets at the same time.
One Medical parent company 1Life Healthcare disclosed the FTC was investigating its proposed merger with Amazon on Friday, reports The Journal. That same day, Politico said the Commission had also begun a review of Amazon’s deal to buy iRobot. According to the outlet, a formal probe is likely given the detailed questions the FTC sent to the two companies. Amazon and iRobot are reportedly preparing for a “potentially lengthy [and] arduous investigation.” One source Politico spoke to told the outlet the review is “wide-ranging” and seeks to determine if the deal would give Amazon an unfair advantage in the connected devices and retail markets.
At the very least, the FTC could easily delay Amazon from finalizing the deals by up to a year. For Amazon, a worst-case scenario would involve lawsuits from the Commission. At the start of the year, NVIDIA abandoned its proposed $40 billion acquisition of ARM after the FTC sued to block the purchase over concerns it would stifle competition across a variety of markets. Whatever comes next, Amazon won’t have an easy road ahead. FTC Chair Lina Khan is a well-known company critic. She rose to prominence in legal circles on the back of an article titled “Amazon's Antitrust Paradox.”