UK business watchdog gives thumbs up to Facebook’s US$1bn acquisition of Instagram

14 Aug 2012

Facebook’s US$1bn acquisition of photo-sharing app service Instagram has been approved by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading.

“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 Office of Fair Trading said this afternoon in a statement.

Detailed text of the OFT’s decision will be posted on its website as soon as reasonably possible, it said.

The OFT began probing the acquisition two months ago after it voiced concerns that following the Facebook acquisition it may shut off the sharing capabilities with other social networks, like Twitter.

However, it has clearly found no grounds for such fears.

In January 2011, Instagram added hashtags, cementing its presence in the Twitterverse.

By February 2011, investors, including Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Quora’s Adam D’Angelo and Benchmark Capital, took a US$7m stake in Instagram.

By April 2012, Instagram’s global community reached 30m members. The Android version of the app was introduced and within a single day it achieved 1m new users.

There are now more than 100m users of the Instagram app on both iPhone and Android devices.

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke the news that the social network had acquired Instagram for about US$1bn.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years