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iRobot to acquire its European distributor - PC Retail

iRobot to acquire its European distributor

Robopolis to bought in a cash deal believed to be worth around $141 million (£108.47 million)
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Roomba robot vacuum cleaner iRobot has today announced that it has struck up a deal to acquire its European distributor Robopolis in a cash deal believed to be worth around $141 million (£108.47 million). 

Robopolis acts as iRobot's key distributor across seven European markets, with the distributor saying that the acquisition "will allow iRobot to create a powerful organisation in Europe, helping it get closer to retail partners and consumers, maintain its leadership position and accelerate the growth of its business in Europe". The deal is expected to close in October. 

This is not an unprecedented move for the vendor, after it previously acquired its Japanese distributor – SODC – last November. The news will mean that the company will have greater control over its distribution network and continued growth “through a consistent approach to all market activities including sales, marketing, branding, channel relationships and customer service”.

Colin Angle, iRobot chairmen and CEO said :“At this stage in the Western European market evolution, and the growth opportunity it presents, we feel a more direct go-to-market strategy is necessary to continue driving adoption of robots for the home.

“The Robopolis team has been instrumental in establishing iRobot as the leading consumer robotics brand in Western Europe. We look forward to them formally joining iRobot and working together to ensure continued growth.”

Robopolis has been iRobot's exclusive distributor in Europe since 2006, with the distributor making up nearly half of iRobot's EMEA revenue for 2016. The region is key for the vendor as it represented around a quarter of the company's 2016 total revenue. 

In a statement, Denis Guyennot, chairman, president and CEO of Robopolis, said: “The Robopolis team is excited to be formally joining iRobot after more than a decade of working together. With broad knowledge of iRobot’s products and experience distributing across multiple markets, the combined organisation will continue to develop close relationships with channel partners and is well positioned to drive future growth throughout EMEA.”

iRobot has confirmed that the distributor will be absorbed into the vendor's EMEA operations, though Robopolis' Lyon office will remain open, a spokesperson has stated. “No relocations are planned. All office locations will remain open."

Robopolis' management team will join iRobot, with the combined operations being spearheaded by iRobot VP and general manager overseas Jean-Jacques Blanc, who reports to iRobot’s COO, Christian Cerda.

iRobot will hold an investors' call later today to review and assess the transaction, along with quarterly results and financial outlook for the remainder of the financial year.

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