Facebook nears EU approval for Kustomer deal

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Facebook nears EU approval for Kustomer deal

BRUSSELS Reuters - Facebook is about to gain EU antitrust approval for its acquisition of Kustomer after it offers remedies that allow rival products to function with those of the U.S. customer service startup, people familiar with the matter said.

A buying spree of startups by big companies has caused concerns on both sides of the Atlantic, with regulators worried about so-called killer acquisitions that shut down potential rivals before they are big enough to be a threat.

One person said Facebook has given remedies that focus on interoperability issues, allowing different products and technology to function together.

The European Commission, which has said the deal could hurt competition and boost Facebook's power in online advertising, subsequently sought feedback from rivals and users.

Even though the deal falls below the EU turnover threshold, the EU executive took up the case after the Austrian competition agency asked it to. The watchdog is given some discretion by the use of Article 22, a rarely used power.

The EU competition enforcer, who is scheduled to decide on the deal by January 28, didn't want to say anything.

Facebook said that this deal will increase competition and bring more innovation to businesses and consumers in the dynamic and competitive CRM and business messaging spaces. The German cartel office told Facebook last week to seek its approval for the deal, which has already received the approval of both Britain and Australia.