The European Union’s antitrust authority today approved Facebook’s acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp, clearing the way for the social network to complete its $19 billion cash and stock transaction.
“We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition in this dynamic and growing market,” EU antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia said in a statement.
The deal, approved by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in April with some privacy caveats, is seen as critical to Facebook’s effort to continue to increase its user numbers, especially among younger internet users who are shifting to text messaging services like WhatsApp.
WhatsApp announced in August that it has 600 million monthly active users, nearly half of Facebook’s 1.3 billion total. In April when it reached half a billion active users, WhatsApp said that people share a daily average of 700 million photos and 100 million videos on the app.