Reuters reported last week that Facebook was set to win unconditional EU approval on its acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion, which the company announced in February. On Friday, the EU made it official.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia, said, “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."
Almunia is nearly done with his term in the commission, to be replaced by Margrethe Vestager in November.
The commission's investigation focused on the areas of consumer communications services, social networking services, and online advertising services.
In April, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the deal, but gave Facebook the stipulation that it mustn’t mess with user privacy when it does go through.
A few months ago, a report on global trends in social platform usage found WhatsApp to be the third fastest growing social app behind Snapchat and Kik Messenger. It was ahead of Twitter’s Vine and Facebook’s own Instagram.
Reports have emerged that Google is planning to launch a new messaging app similar to WhatsApp.
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