U.K. Office Of Fair Trading Approves Facebook-Instagram Deal

By David Cohen 

Facebook’s pending acquisition of photo-sharing application Instagram cleared one hurdle across the pond when the U.K. Office of Fair Trading signed off on the deal.

The OFT announced its decision with the following brief statement:

The OFT has decided, on the information currently available to it, not to refer this merger to the Competition Commission under the provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002. The text of this decision will be placed on the Office of Fair Trading’s website as soon as is reasonably practicable.

A spokesman for the OFT offered more details to TechCrunch, saying:

We examined this in light of them both offering social networking services, looking at potential competition in social networking services, and in the supply of photo apps and whether the merger might result in the merging parties limiting people from others using other apps or other sites. In brief, we concluded that there are several relatively strong competitors to Instagram that appear to pose a stronger constraint to Instagram than Facebook does.

(The OFT does not) have reason to believe that Instagram would be uniquely placed to compete against Facebook either as a provider of advertising space or as a photo service.

(The OFT also looked at) whether people would be limited in posting to Facebook or Instagram without using the two together, as a result of the acquisition. The evidence we received showed that the parties would not be able to pursue such a strategy.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also reviewing the Facebook-Instagram transaction. The social network hopes to finalize the deal by year-end.

Readers: Do you think Facebook’s pending acquisition of Instagram is anti-competitive?