Thu, Feb. 4, 9:48 AM
- P-E firm Arlington Capital is buying iRobot's (NASDAQ:IRBT) defense/security robot business for up to $45M, after factoring a milestone-based contingent payment. The deal is expected to close "in the next few months."
- Activist Red Mountain Capital previously called on iRobot to explore options for its defense/security robot ops, noting they account for less than 10% of revenue and aren't expected to grow significantly over the next few years. iRobot's Defense & Security sales fell 42% Y/Y in Q3 to $6.2M, with gross margin dropping to 42.9% from 53.3% a year earlier.
- CEO Colin Angle: "iRobot sees significant growth opportunities in the consumer robotic technology market, particularly in light of the successful Roomba 980 launch and the potential presented by the connected smart home ... The divestiture of the Defense & Security business will allow us to focus on the Home Robots business, bring new products to market, continue our expansion in China and build upon successful new marketing campaigns."
- Along with the sale, iRobot has announced it's expanding its buyback authorization by $65M, bringing the total value of its 2016 program above $100M. A 1M-share buyback was announced in late December.
- iRobot has rallied above $35. Q4 results arrive on Feb. 10.
Dec. 14, 2013, 6:25 PM
- Google (GOOG) has acquired Boston Dynamics, a developer of advanced robots and related software for the U.S. military. The NYT observes Boston, whose robots rely on proprietary algorithms and sensor-based controls to handle movement, has "gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and ... run faster than the fastest humans."
- Boston's products include Atlas, a humanoid robot able to handle difficult terrain; Cheetah, declared by the company to be "the fastest legged robot in the world (top speed above 29 mph); and BigDog, a giant rough-terrain robot that can climb 35-degree slopes and has starred in a YouTube video that has received 15M+ views.
- Boston is Google's eighth 2013 robotics acquisition. The NYT recently reported a Google unit headed by ex-Android chief Andy Rubin is looking to create "a new generation of robots," and that the Web giant is eying manufacturing and retail robotics applications. Amazon is clearly showing an interest in the latter.
- Google's latest acquisition could end up having implications for iRobot (IRBT), which sold $33.7M worth of defense/security robots over the first nine months of 2013 (-39% Y/Y).
Sep. 17, 2012, 5:15 PM
IRobot (IRBT) is buying rival Evolution Robotics, maker of the Mint and Mint Plus floor-cleaning robots, for $74M in cash. IRobot claims the deal, which might raise some antitrust concerns, is meant to bolster the company's robotics technology lead via the IP and engineering talent Evolution brings to the table. (PR)| Sep. 17, 2012, 5:15 PM