Facebook, WhatsApp Merger Likely to Evade US Antitrust Scrutiny
On Wednesday night, Bloomberg reported that Facebook's (NASDAQ: FB) acquisition of WhatsApp Inc., with a $2 billion breakup fee, will likely avoid a U.S. antitrust challenge due to the "dynamic market for mobile applications."
In a recent statement, Facebook announced that they agreed to pay $1 billion in cash and $1 billion in the company stock "in the event of termination of the merger agreement under certain circumstances principally related to a failure to obtain required regulatory approvals."
The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission will review whether the Facebook and WhatsApp merger is anti-competitive and determine if Facebook is abusing their power. In the report, Bloomberg cited Seth Bloom, founder of Bloom Strategic Counsel in Washington and a former general counsel of the U.S. Senate Antitrust Subcommittee. Bloom commented, "Antitrust regulators will study the extent of competition between WhatsApp's service and Facebook's own application, Facebook Messenger, and whether the deal would give Facebook undue control of the messaging market."
On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire WhatsApp, a rapidly growing cross-platform mobile messaging company, for a total of approximately $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares. An additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp's founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.
Shares of Facebook closed at $68.06 on Wednesday and are currently trading up 1.01% at $68.75.
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