UK OKs Facebook’s Kustomer Buy

The UK’s competition watchdog has cleared Facebook’s acquisition of Kustomer, a maker of CRM tools.

The purchase was announced last November,  with a price tag we reported as US$1 billion, but is pending closing after facing regulatory scrutiny.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opened an inquiry on the proposed merger this summer, at the end of July. The European Commission has also been digging into the implications of the deal, opening an investigation in August.

In a summary of its decision to greenlight Facebook’s latest bit of B2B shopping, the CMA stated it looked at whether letting Facebook go ahead and scoop up the customer service software maker would dent competition by raising barriers to entry in the online display advertising market; whether Facebook might harm the competitiveness of customer service tools maker by limiting or degrading their access to its messaging channels; whether the tech giant might harm the competitiveness of other B2C messaging services by preventing them from integrating with Kustomer’s services; and whether Facebook could rely on cross-subsidizing from its online ads business to undercut competitors by offering Kustomer for free or on a freemium basis, thereby undermining the ability of others to compete.

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