Europe says Yes to Facebook’s WhatsApp deal

Facebook finally has approval to complete its $19 billion [£11.85 billion] acquisition of WhatsApp after European regulators moved to rubber stamp the huge deal.

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The European Commission agreed to ratify the deal as it doesn’t hurt competition and it follows a similar decision by US regulators back in April to allow the takeover to happen.

"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," European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.

A press release from the European Union added that the presence of a number of rivals, such as iMessage, WeChat, Google Hangouts and Viber, means that the amalgamation of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp won’t create a monopoly.

The deal gives Facebook access to WhatsApp’s user base that sits at 500 million worldwide, according to figures released back in April, with developing markets such as Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia showing huge growth.

Despite this growth there are still many that have reservations over WhatsApp becoming part of the Facebook stable. This is especially the case in Europe where one German privacy watchdog explicitly advised users to uninstall Facebook and WhatsApp as neither complies with European data protection regulations.

Read more: WhatsApp complains that Android security risks are “overstated”

WhatsApp’s growth could even be stymied by Google, which is reportedly working on its own mobile chat application that would position it to compete against the chat service as well as others. This is after it had its own $10 billion [£6.24 billion] bid for WhatsApp knocked back prior to Facebook’s acquisition.

Image Credit: Flickr (Álvaro Ibáñez)