European Union antitrust regulators have delayed the target date for a determination on Facebook’s purchase of New York-based software company, Kustomer, to Dec. 15, according to a Monday (Aug. 9) report from Reuters. The original deadline had been Dec. 8 and was pushed back at the request of the social media giant.
As PYMNTS reported previously, the EU held a preliminary review of the acquisition on Aug. 2 as a prerequisite for kicking off a more involved, 90-day investigation. Facebook had announced the purchase in November to scale up the instant messaging services WhatsApp.
Facebook said previously that the deal is pro-competition and will provide businesses and customers with more innovation.
EU antitrust regulators are opting to look more closely at deals with tech, pharma, and biotech startups, PYMNTS reported previously.
Regulators are looking for warning signs of “killer acquisitions” in which big companies purchase rivals to crush competition — something Facebook has been accused of before. In the U.S., in addition to antitrust cases brought by the Federal Trade Commission and several different states, Facebook could also be targeted by a bill created by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota that would prevent tech companies from discriminating against smaller competitors.
According to an earlier PYMNTS report, Facebook had been eyeing Kustomer for its software-as-a-service capabilities, which would positively boost Facebook’s options and give support to its ever-popular WhatsApp, which grew in popularity particularly amid the pandemic.
Kustomer CEO and Chairman Brad Birnbaum co-founded the company in 2015 after co-founding Assistly, which Salesforce later purchased and renamed Desk.com, according to the company website. Kustomer provides customer relationship management software that can be adapted to a variety of industries, including financial services, retail and eCommerce, healthcare, government, education, and travel/hospitality.
Facebook’s acquisition of the chatbot company could drive its valuation to more than $1 billion, PYMNTS noted previously.
Also read: Facebook To Acquire Chatbot Startup Kustomer