Facebook seeks EU antitrust review of WhatsApp deal: source

Wed May 28, 2014 11:20am EDT

An illustration photo shows a man holding a smart phone with a Facebook logo as its screen wallpaper in front of a WhatsApp messenger logo, in Zenica February 20, 2014 . REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

An illustration photo shows a man holding a smart phone with a Facebook logo as its screen wallpaper in front of a WhatsApp messenger logo, in Zenica February 20, 2014 .

Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

(Reuters) - Social network Facebook has asked European Union antitrust regulators to examine its $19 billion takeover of mobile messaging service WhatsApp, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

Companies, which need approvals for mergers from several national regulators in Europe, typically prefer to take their case to the European Commission to avoid the hassle of multiple reviews.

The deal was cleared in the United States last month by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a letter to the two companies on April 10, said WhatsApp must adhere to its current privacy practices after the merger, including a promise not to use WhatsApp users' personal data for targeted ads.

Facebook was not immediately available for comment, while a European Commission spokeswoman declined to comment.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Arnab Sen; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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