BRUSSELS (AFP) – European Union regulators on Friday cleared the buyout of the WhatsApp mobile messaging service by Facebook, des-pite opposition by telecom companies afraid of the growing power of US technology giants.
In a statement explaining its approval of the US$19-billon (15-billion-euro) deal, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said Facebook and WhatsApp were “not close competitors” and that consumers would continue to have a “wide array of choices”.
“We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition in this dynamic and growing market,” EU Com-petition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
Facebook, the world’s biggest social net-work, announced the buyout of the Whats-App messenger service, used by 600 million people, in February and US authorities ap-proved the deal in April.
The European Commission only automa-tically reviews deals where each company involved has sales of over 100 million euros across at least three EU states, which was not the case for this deal.