LONDON – European Union regulators have approved Facebook parent Meta's purchase of customer service startup Kustomer, after the social network made concessions to ease concerns the deal would squeeze out rivals.
The EU Commission's decision Thursday following an in-depth investigation clears an obstacle for the deal, which has been facing scrutiny from multiple European watchdogs over fears it would stifle competition.
New York-based Kustomer provides software that helps companies manage online conversations with customers over various channels by putting them into a single dashboard. Meta's aim with the deal is to make more money from its WhatsApp and Messenger chat services, which have thrived during the pandemic, by adding ways for businesses to interact with customers.
To allay the competition worries, Meta promised to give other players “non-discriminatory access" to its messaging channels over the next decade, the Commission said. A trustee with “far-reaching powers” will be appointed to make sure that Meta lives up to its side of the deal.
“Our decision today will ensure that innovative rivals and new entrants in the customer relationship management software market can effectively compete,” EU Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager, the 27-nation bloc's top competition watchdog, said in a statement. "The commitments offered by Meta ensure that its rivals will continue to have free and comparable access to Meta’s important messaging channels.”
Meta has said the transaction is “pro-competitive” and will lead to more innovation. The U.K. competition watchdog gave its approval last year following an investigation while German regulators asked Meta in December for relevant documents as part of their review.