The European Commission yesterday fined US social media giant Facebook Inc 110 million euros (US$122.5 million) for providing incorrect and misleading information on its takeover of WhatsApp messaging service.
“Today’s decision sends a clear signal to companies that they must comply with all aspects of EU merger rules, including the obligation to provide correct information,” European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“The commission must be able to take decisions about mergers’ effects on competition in full knowledge of accurate facts,” she said.
Facebook said in response that it cooperated with the commission and that the errors made were not intentional.
“We’ve acted in good faith since our very first interactions with the commission and we’ve sought to provide accurate information at every turn,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
“The errors we made in our 2014 filings were not intentional and the commission has confirmed that they did not impact the outcome of the merger review. Today’s announcement brings this matter to a close,” the spokesperson said.
EU regulators cleared the then US$19 billion Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp in late 2014, finding no reason to believe it would dampen competition in the burgeoning social media sector.
In yesterday’s statement, the commission recalled that the merger rules require companies to provide regulators with the accurate information essential to any review.
It said that when Facebook notified the commission of the acquisition in 2014, the company had said it would “be unable to establish reliable automated matching between Facebook users’ accounts and WhatsApp users’ accounts.”
After launching a probe last year, the commission “found that, contrary to Facebook’s statements in the 2014 merger review process, the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook and WhatsApp users’ identities already existed in 2014, and that Facebook staff were aware of such a possibility.”
The commission said yesterday’s decision and the fine would have no impact on its October 2014 clearance of the deal.
‘ACCORDING TO PLAN’: A company official said that it has set up production sites worldwide to provide services and that its Wisconsin project was going smoothly Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) smart manufacturing center in Wisconsin would begin trial manufacturing in the middle of this year, the company said yesterday, adding that it plans to build a research institute to develop key technologies to support growth over the next five years. Hon Hai, known internationally as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), said in an annual report submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that its planned Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology would conduct research into artificial intelligence, next-generation communications, quantum computing, cybersecurity and nano semiconductors in Taiwan. Hon Hai is to make products at the center
TV and online retailer Momo.com Inc (富邦媒體) yesterday said it has set up a new logistics subsidiary, Fu Sheng Logistics Co (富昇物流), to oversee the company’s extensive shipping operations. Leveraging Momo’s 23 satellite warehouses and distribution centers nationwide, Fu Sheng will be in charge of executing the retailer’s same-day shipment plan for deliveries in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, Momo said in a press release. Seeking to further shorten its supply chain, the company is to set up another seven satellite warehouses and distribution centers by the end of the year. “Fu Sheng has a fleet of 200 couriers
E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技), the world’s sole supplier of e-paper displays for e-readers and shelf labels, posted its best quarterly net profit for the first quarter in nine years amid increased demand during a traditionally slow season. Net profit soared 80 percent to NT$787 million (US$26.23 million) in the quarter ended March 31, compared with NT$438 million a year earlier. That translated into earnings per share of NT$0.69, up from NT$0.39. E Ink posted lower royalty income of NT$371.23 million last quarter from NT$448.74 million a year earlier, a company financial statement showed. E Ink said that it expects royalty income to
The latest US government action against Huawei Technologies Co (華為) takes direct aim the company’s HiSilicon (海思) chip division — a business that in over the past few years has become central to China’s ambitions in semiconductor technology, but is now to lose access to tools that are central to its success. That could make it the most damaging measure by the US yet against a Chinese company. On Wednesday, US officials told reporters that the Huawei’s chip division functioned as a “tool of strategic influence” for the Chinese Communist Party. Huawei, for its part, denounced the US allegations and called the