Newspaper article International New York Times

Facebook Wants E.U. Review of WhatsApp Deal

Newspaper article International New York Times

Facebook Wants E.U. Review of WhatsApp Deal

Article excerpt

By turning to the European Commission, Facebook is hoping to sidestep any potential country-by-country hurdles to the potential $19 billion acquisition.

The European Union will have a chance to weigh in on Facebook's deal to buy the Internet messaging application WhatsApp for as much as $19 billion.

Although United States antitrust officials have already approved the purchase, Facebook has asked the European Commission, the union's executive arm, to conduct a centralized review of the proposed acquisition, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The move came as several of Europe's national regulators, particularly in countries like Britain and Spain, had been considering reviews of the multibillion-dollar deal because of privacy and antitrust concerns.

WhatsApp is a text-messaging smartphone application with 450 million users around the world who pay little or no money for it.

By turning to the European Commission, Facebook is hoping to sidestep any potential country-by-country hurdles. That might also limit the potential for some of Europe's largest telecommunications companies to lobby their national antitrust officials to block the sale.

Several carriers have raised concerns that the deal, announced in February, would give Facebook a large stake in Europe's mobile messaging market, which has been a lucrative source of revenue for traditional players in the telecommunications sector.

A central review by Europe's antitrust regulator could potentially speed approval for the deal, which already received a green light from the Federal Trade Commission in Washington.

It remains unclear, however, whether the European Commission has jurisdiction over the deal, which would be the largest acquisition by Facebook.

Under European rules, the proposed deal may not reach the needed revenue threshold for it to fall under the commission's purview: Each company must have European revenue above 250 million euros, or $340 million, and combined global revenue must be at least EUR 5 billion. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.