Update October 6: Following approval from EU regulators, Facebook officially closed its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp.
After months of scrutiny, European Union antitrust regulators on Friday approved Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp.
In a statement explaining the decision, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that the combination of the Silicon Valley social networking giant and the wildly popular mobile messaging app posed little risk to consumers.
“Consumer communications apps keep European citizens connected and are becoming increasingly popular,” Almunia wrote. “While Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are two of the most popular apps, most people use more than one communications app.”
The approval was expected and comes more than seven months after Facebook shocked Silicon Valley by agreeing to pay a gargantuan sum for an app with hundreds of millions of users but little in the way of revenue.
European approval comes about six months after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission gave its blessing. In its statement, the EC said “Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are not close competitors.” That’s because the former relies on Facebook’s social network for your connections, while the latter relies on your phone number.
Facebook, of course, has been creating a bit of controversy as a result of its strategy to force its own mobile users to install its Messenger app.
The commission also noted that “this is a very dynamic market with several competing apps available on the market, such as Line, Viber, iMessage, Telegram, WeChat, and Google Hangouts.”