Facebook nearing EU approval for WhatsApp deal

Facebook nearing EU approval for WhatsApp deal

25 SEP 2014

Facebook is set to get unconditional EU approval for its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, Reuters said.

The move comes because the combination of the two companies will not have any anti-competitive effect, meaning that no concessions will be necessary.

The EU has set a deadline of 3 October for the investigation, which would mean it is about the right time for it to be moving toward its closing stages.

According to earlier reports, it was Facebook itself that requested an EU review, in order to avoid the possibility it may become involved in multiple, separate actions across different European countries.

While both Facebook and WhatsApp are dominant in terms of user numbers in their separate markets, there is plenty of competition for WhatsApp from a number of so-called ‘over-the-top’ players.

In addition to which, with WhatsApp having done little to monetise its services to date, an acquisition by Facebook is unlikely to skew the commercial picture unduly.

It is believed that stakeholders including mobile operators, social networks and internet service providers have been consulted by the European regulators, with a set of more detailed questionnaires sent out in recent weeks.

In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has also talked tough on the deal with regards to user privacy. While leveraging user data would be an effective way of helping monetise WhatsApp, it would also go against much of what the company has previously said it stands for.

Facebook announced its plan to acquire WhatsApp in February, stating that the messaging app would remain a standalone proposition.

In the meantime, it has also updated its own Messenger proposition, including unbundling some functionality from the core Facebook app.

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Steve Costello

Steve works across all of Mobile World Live’s channels and played a lead role in the launch and ongoing success of our apps and devices services. He has been a journalist...More

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