European Union antitrust regulators are asking Facebook’s rivals and telecoms operators whether Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp will be anticompetitive and lead to price increases. Facebook, in the midst of its largest acquisition in the social network’s history, needs EU approval for the deal and asked the European Commission to review the acquisition as it hopes to close the deal no later than August 2015.
the regulator asked if the deal would have a negative, neutral or positive impact on users and customers
In a questionnaire sent to third parties and seen by Reuters, the EU regulator asked if the deal would have a negative, neutral or positive impact on users and customers in mobile messaging and social networks, and also asked for an example of a negative impact. Other questions revolved around price increases of voice calls or messaging and whether mobile messaging services could substitute traditional voice calls; and whether users and rivals would face problems switching to other apps or launching competing apps.
The European Commission said on September 1 that it will decide by October 3 whether to clear the deal without any concessions, or whether concessions will be put in place. The commission could also decide to extend and expand its review.
While the EU continues to scrutinize the deal, the U.S.’s Federal Trade Commission approved of the $19 billion acquisition back in early April.
Facebook also owns Facebook Messenger, which was recently the subject of a mass online backlash for its division from the main social networking app, a backlash that prompted the social network to issue a response.