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Facebook Seeks EU Approval of WhatsApp Deal to Avoid Antitrust Headaches

The $19 billion acquisition isn't done just yet, as Facebook still needs regulatory approval in Europe.

Facebook has asked the European Commission to perform an antitrust review of its $19 billion WhatsApp acquisition, the Wall Street Journal reports. Such approval could help Facebook avoid dealing with numerous antitrust probes from European countries.

By getting approval at the EU level, Facebook may be able to avoid probes by individual countries, where national telecom companies may lobby aggressively to break up the deal. WhatsApp, which lets users exchange unlimited messages for $1 per year, has been hugely disruptive to the traditional text messaging business, especially outside the U.S.

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission approved the deal in April under the condition that Facebook and WhatsApp give notice and get permission to share information beyond their existing privacy settings.

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