The legislative hurdles US internet companies often encounter in the EU zone due to their sometimes too reckless ‘laissez passer’ attitude seems not having hit Facebook this time. The company whose $19 billionWhatsApp acquisition had been approved by the US authorities earlier this year, just got the blessing of the European anti-trust organs today.
The European Commission has authorised the acquisition under the EU Merger Regulation, saying that “Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are not close competitors and that consumers would continue to have a wide choice of alternative consumer communications apps after the transaction. Although consumer communications apps are characterised by network effects, the investigation showed that the merged entity would continue to face sufficient competition after the merger.”
In praise of the services provided by both sides, Joaquín Almunia, the Commission VP responsible for competition policies, said in the statement, “Consumer communications apps keep European citizens connected and are becoming increasingly popular. While Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are two of the most popular apps, most people use more than one communications app. We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition in this dynamic and growing market. Consumers will continue to have a wide choice of consumer communications apps.”
The Commission’s investigation focused on three areas: consumer communications services, social networking services, and online advertising services. Facebook itself applied to the EU authorities last May to investigate the acquisition.