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Facebook-WhatsApp acquisition finally gets EU approval

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Facebook’s acquisition of popular messaging app WhatsApp, claimed to be as one of the biggest acquisition in the tech world till date, has finally received approval by European Union regulators.

Explaining the reason behind approving the deal in a statement on Friday, the Commission said Facebook and WhatsApp were “not close competitors” and that consumers would continue to have a wide choice of alternative communication apps even after the deal is met.

EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia says “while Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are two of the most popular apps, most people use more than one communications app.”

“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,” Almunia added.

European approval of the deal comes about six months after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the acquisition back in April.

Facebook announced the buyout of the WhatsApp messenger service in February. The deal is said to cost the social networking giant a whopping $19 billion dollars, including $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. The deal is likely to give the most popular social networking site a strong foothold in the fast-growing mobile messaging market.

Launched in 2009, WhatsApp currently has some 600 million global users which it expects will reach 1 billion in next few years.

The deal is likely to get closed by this year end.