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Robotics Company Acquisition

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted September 24, 2012

Last week, iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT) announced that it has acquired Evolution Robotics, Inc. iRobot will probably be most familiar to readers as the maker of the popular Roomba robotic home cleaning devices, while Evolution developed the Mint and Mint Plus automatic floor cleaning robots. Boards of directors for both companies have approved the deal.

The acquisition will likely close in the fourth quarter of 2012, and it will benefit iRobot as they stand to acquire a sizable portfolio of intellectual property, engineering knowhow, as well as new products. iRobot will be buying out Evolution for $74 million, using cash reserves to fund the purchase.

Evolution Robotics started out as a tech incubator, coming out with the Mint floor cleaning robot in 2010. Mint offered an alternative to the Roomba, as it worked with widely available Swiffer Wet and Dry wipes to dust and damp mop hardwood floors. The Roomba focuses more on vacuuming operations, and this deal could see iRobot bring out a combined solution in the near future.

From Robotics Tomorrow:

“Evolution Robotics’ products will expand our automated floor care offerings while its technology and intellectual property will bring visual navigation and simultaneous localization and mapping, among other technologies, which could be deployed in future iRobot products to deliver greater customer value,” said Colin Angle, iRobot chairman and CEO. “There are tremendous opportunities to leverage the strength of the iRobot brand and our sales and distribution network to expand Mint product sales around the world. Robotic floor cleaners are one of the fastest growing consumer products in the past few years and our retailers and distributors welcome opportunities to fuel that growth.”

iRobot expects to see an additional revenue of $4-6 million for this year and $22-24 million next year based on this deal.

iRobot’s home robots are widely used in households, and the company also develops consumer and military robots featuring advanced navigation, manipulation, and mobility protocols in tandem with highly adaptable artificial intelligence algorithms.

Evolution Robotics is based in Pasadena, California. It began as an operating company of Idealab and was funded by Vodafone Ventures Ltd., CMEA Ventures, and Shea Ventures.