Sep 29, 2022 - Technology

Exclusive: Warren, other lawmakers ask FTC to block Amazon deal

Illustration of a giant Amazon logo surrounded by orange cones.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

A group of lawmakers led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is asking the Federal Trade Commission to reject Amazon's proposed acquisition of iRobot, per a letter shared first with Axios.

Driving the news: The FTC is conducting an extensive review of Amazon's bid for the robot-vacuum maker, per a securities filing, along with the same type of review of Amazon's planned acquisition of OneMedical.

Why it matters: FTC chair Lina Khan, who became famous for her antitrust writings on Amazon, must decide whether to challenge the e-commerce giant's purchases of smaller companies at a moment when the agency is already engaged in other high-profile suits against Amazon and Meta.

What they're saying: "I have serious concerns about the Amazon-iRobot deal — dominant companies like Amazon shouldn’t be allowed to just buy their way out of competing," Warren told Axios in a statement. "The FTC should oppose this proposed merger to protect competition, lower consumer prices, and rein in Amazon’s well-documented anticompetitive activities."

  • "Rather than compete in a fair marketplace on its own merits, Amazon is following a familiar anticompetitive playbook: leveraging its massive market share and access to capital to buy or suppress popular products," wrote Warren, along with representatives Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Jesus G. "Chuy" Garcia (D-Ill.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Katie Porter (D-Calif.).

The other side: An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement that “the letter contains a number of falsehoods and is broadly inaccurate. We will continue to cooperate with regulators, and we are confident that this deal is procompetitive and will make customers lives better and easier.”

Read the whole letter here.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from Amazon.

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