Facebook has fully completed the acquisition of WhatsApp. The US regulator has previously approved the acquisition. The European Commission has now also announced that it no longer sees any problems.
The European Commission previously launched an investigation, because it thought that Facebook with its Messenger service may have resembled WhatsApp too much. The fear was that competitors would fall by the wayside once Facebook had both popular communication services.
Last month, European competition authorities distributed an extensive questionnaire to competitors and customers of Facebook and WhatsApp, such as companies behind other social networks and telecom companies. The investigation focused on the alleged distinction between a social network and a messaging service. It now appears that there is no objection to the takeover as far as Europe is concerned.
The European Commission states, among other things, that the Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp apps on mobile devices do not compete with each other. “The committee believes that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are not very competitive. Although Facebook Messenger is a separate application, the user experience focuses specifically on the social network,” the committee writes.
Another argument for allowing the takeover is that a profile must be created for Facebook, while a telephone number is necessary for WhatsApp. This would make the two apps sufficiently different from each other. Moreover, there are plenty of competitors with, for example, Viber, iMessage, Telegram, WeChat and Google Hangouts, the committee believes. Last week it was also rumored that Google is working on a new WhatsApp competitor.
Facebook announced in February that it wanted to acquire WhatsApp for an amount of 19 billion dollars, or 15 billion euros. Because Faceboook’s share on the stock market has risen, the deal is now worth almost 18 billion euros. This caused dissatisfaction among a large number of users, partly because of possible privacy objections. Nevertheless, the American watchdog SEC also approved the acquisition earlier. WhatsApp now has approximately 600 million active users worldwide.