iRobot is most popularly known for its Roomba robot vacuums, but also has its hand in developing robots aimed at public safety and military use. But now it is passing this defense wing on to a private company to turn its focus back on putting more smart products for the home on the market.
The company announced today its plans to sell its Defense and Security business to the private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners.
The company hired Blackstone Advisory Partners, now known as PJT Partners, in 2014 to review strategic alternatives for its defense business, Colin Angle, iRobot's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "After a thorough and deliberate process, we've concluded the sale of the business to Arlington Capital Partners will maximize shareholder value by allowing us to focus on our much larger Home segment."
The transaction is valued at up to $45 million, and is expected to close in the next few months.
iRobot's Defense and Security robotic business will now operate as an independent company under Arlington Capital Partners, with Sean Bielat serving as CEO and the current SVP and GM of iRobot's military robot business, Tom Frost, on board to be the company's president.
When the deal is closed, it will be the largest independent provider of ground-based robots to the U.S. Department of Defense. The company will be renamed when the deal is final.
iRobot's Defense and Security sector sells robots for public safety, military and hazmat use, with more than 6,000 robots including the FirstLook, SUGV, PackBot and Kobra sold.
Putting all its focus back on creating robots for the home, iRobot will also venture into smart home products.
"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," Angle said. "With 14 million robots in people's homes today and the leading market share within the robotic floor care segment, iRobot has revolutionized the way people clean. 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. We are confident that our strategy of focusing on the home will position iRobot for continued growth and success."
iRobot said it will disclose more information about the divestiture, including the one-time costs, in its fourth-quarter and year earnings investor call on Feb. 10-11.