The landmark deal is the largest in Facebook's
10-year history and will give it a strong foothold in the
fast-growing mobile messaging market.
WhatsApp is poised to become a potentially powerful rival to
companies such as Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telecom Italia
with its plan to add free voice-call services for its 450
million customers later this year.
The European Commission said the Facebook-WhatsApp deal would
not hurt competition.
"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.
Reuters was the first to report on Sept. 25 that the deal would
be cleared unconditionally. U.S. regulators nodded through the
deal in April.
WhatsApp and its rivals such as KakaoTalk, China's WeChat and
Viber have in recent years won over telecoms operators'
customers with a free text messaging option, posing a serious
threat to the sector's revenues from this business, which
totaled about $120 billion last year, according to market
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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