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OFT approves Facebook's acquisition of Instagram


The UK Office of Fair Trading said the deal would not result in a substantial lessening of competition

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The Office of Fair Trading approved Facebook's acquisition of photo sharing service Instagram, an OFT spokesman said on Wednesday.

The merger will not be referred to the Competition Commission, the OFT said. The competition regulator investigated whether the deal would result in a substantial reduction of competition in the UK, and found that not to be the case, said an OFT spokesman.

There was initial concern Facebook could limit the use of other photo services on its social network after the Instagram acquisition, or limit the use of Instagram on other social networks, the OFT said.

"The evidence did not suggest that the parties have the intention to do so," an OFT spokesman said.

Facebook announced in April that it was planning to buy Instagram for US$1 billion in cash and stock. The company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it an important milestone at the time because it was the first time that Facebook acquired a service with so many users. Instagram announced two weeks ago that its user base had grown to over 80 million registered users, that shared nearly 40 billion photos.

The US Federal Trade Commission started an evaluation of the acquisition last May. The review of the merger could take six months.

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OFT approves Facebook's acquisition of Instagram
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