EU fines Face­book €110m over What­sApp takeover

New Straits Times - - Business -

BRUS­SELS: The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day fined United States so­cial me­dia gi­ant Face­book €110 mil­lion (RM516 mil­lion) for pro­vid­ing in­cor­rect and mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion on its takeover of What­sApp.

“To­day’s de­ci­sion sends a clear sig­nal to com­pa­nies that they must com­ply with all as­pects of Euro­pean Union merger rules, in­clud­ing the obli­ga­tion to pro­vide cor­rect in­for­ma­tion,” said EU Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sioner Mar­grethe Vestager.

“The Com­mis­sion must be able to take de­ci­sions about merg­ers’ ef­fects on com­pe­ti­tion in full knowl­edge of ac­cu­rate facts,” said Vestager.

Face­book said in re­sponse that it had co­op­er­ated with the Com­mis­sion and the er­rors made were not in­ten­tional.

“We’ve acted in good faith since our first in­ter­ac­tions with the Com­mis­sion and we’ve sought to pro­vide ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion at ev­ery turn,” said a Face­book spokesper­son.

“The er­rors we made in our 2014 fil­ings were not in­ten­tional and the Com­mis­sion has con­firmed that they did not im­pact the out­come of the merger re­view. To­day’s an­nounce­ment brings this mat­ter to a close.”

EU reg­u­la­tors cleared the then US$19 bil­lion Face­book ac­qui­si­tion of What­sApp in late 2014, find­ing no rea­son to be­lieve it would dampen com­pe­ti­tion in the bur­geon­ing so­cial me­dia sec­tor.

In its state­ment yes­ter­day, the Com­mis­sion re­called that the merger rules re­quire com­pa­nies to pro­vide reg­u­la­tors with the ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion es­sen­tial to any re­view. AFP

Mar­grethe Vestager

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