Facebook had disclosed its intention of purchasing the WhatsApp for whopping $19 billion last February, but this is not a done deal yet as it still needs to get a regulatory approval. Last Friday, the European Commission made known its unconditional approval of the unification that gives rise to Facebook’s biggest acquisition ever.
After several months of long wait, Facebook finally has been approved to purchase the messaging app WhatsApp, to pave the way for the company’s biggest ever acquisition.
Facebook publicized its proposal of buying WhatsApp for staggering $19 billion last February. And a long last, the waiting game has finally stopped last Friday, as the European Commission unconditionally approved the merger. WhatsApp is a cheap messaging app which commands 600 million users all across the globe. On ther other end, Facebook has 1.3 billion and 300 million of them employs Facebook Messenger app. The commission was quite vexed knowing that the two messaging apps are fierce competitors and their unification could hurt competition in the internet messaging segment. In the end they discovered that there is an adequate number of mobile messaging apps in the messaging market on which the acquisition will not cause harm.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia quipped, “Consumer communications apps keep European citizens connected and are becoming increasingly popular.” Almunia also added, “While Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are two of the most popular apps, most people use more than one. We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition in this dynamic and growing market.”
Facebook spokeswoman stated on her e-mail that “We are pleased to have received clearance from the European Commission and look forward to closing the acquisition.”
The merger between the Facebook and WhatsApp provided a test on how the European Commission will whip up competition law in the realms of social media.
Telecom operators like Deutsche Orange, Telekom, and Telecom Italia, were seen urging the commission to end the deal in the course of concerns that the merger will pave the way for too much market share and have more power to rule over the users’ data.
To determine whether the unification of Facebook and WhatsApp would be able to harm the competitors, the commission has sent two questionnaires, with one having almost 70 pages, to different respondents in that are connected to the telecommunications industry. The commission discovered that the merger wouldn’t inflict harm in the mobile messaging segment after all.
The commission quipped on its statement that, “Even in the event of an integration between WhatsApp and Facebook such that Facebook’s position in social networking services could be strengthened, the net gain in terms of new members of the social network would be limited, since the user base of WhatsApp already overlaps to a significant extent with that of Facebook.” The unification of the two companies was approved in the United States last April, 2014.
Facebook also bought Oculus VR for $2 billion last July expand further the operations of the company. Oculus VR, a company which is renowned for producing virtual reality headsets. Facebook thinks that virtual reality will eventually become a very important communication tool in the coming years.