iRobot Corp., maker of robotic home appliances and military robots, plans to acquire privately held Evolution Robotics, Inc. (ER) for $74 million. iRobot is well-known for its Roomba line of vacuum cleaner robots; ER markets Mint and Mint Plus automatic floor cleaning robots.
The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012 and will expand iRobot's footprint in home appliance robotics with the expansion of intellectual property, engineering talent, and products.
ER's technology originated in 2001 in a technology company incubator. In 2010, ER launched the Mint automatic floor cleaning robot designed exclusively for hard surface floors. Mint automatically dusts and damp-mops hard surface floors using popular cleaning cloths, such as Swiffer brand Dry and Wet Cloths. ER's enhanced Mint Plus was launched in 2011.
iRobot noted that Mint provides it with a complementary dry/wet floor cleaning solution. It said ER saw strong revenue growth from Mint appliances, which provides lower market entry points for customers with hard floors.
"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."
ER's CEO, Paolo Pirjanian, will join iRobot as Chief Technology Officer.
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