EU's Vestager to scrutinise data in merger decisions

September 29, 2016

EU competition chief Margarethe Vestager on Thursday said that the relevance of user data to major corporate mergers will come under closer scrutiny as her teams get set to consider Microsoft's mega buyout of LinkedIn.

Data has increasingly become a major driver for big acquisitions in the digital world, including the blockbuster buyout of messaging service WhatsApp by Facebook in 2014 that was waved through at the EU by Vestager's predecessor.

"I will keep a close eye on how companies use ," Vestager said at a conference in Brussels.

"A company might even buy up a rival just to get hold of its data, even though it hasn't yet managed to turn that data into money," she added.

The veiled warning to tech firms comes weeks after Vestager ordered Apple to pay back 13 billion euros in taxes and with her team running several cases against Google.

Her new focus looks set to influence the EU's appraisal of Microsoft's $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, the biggest-ever deal for a company.

Microsoft has said its bid for LinkedIn will require regulatory approval in the EU, US, Canada and Brazil and data is increasingly a big consideration.

Microsoft has yet to formally submit the LinkedIn deal to the EU, but hopes to close the deal this year.

Earlier this month, Vestager said her teams were taking another look at the Facebook-WhatsApp deal after the social media giant loosened privacy policy allowing Facebook and Instagram to draw on data from WhatsApp.

"Companies need to make sure they don't use data in a way that stops others competing," Vestager said Thursday.

Explore further: EU tax move on Apple not anti-US bias: Vestager

Related Stories

EU tax move on Apple not anti-US bias: Vestager

September 19, 2016

Europe's powerful Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Monday that the EU order for Apple to pay $15 billion in taxes did not represent any bias against US companies.

Recommended for you

Forget oil, Russia goes crazy for cryptocurrency

August 16, 2017

Standing in a warehouse in a Moscow suburb, Dmitry Marinichev tries to speak over the deafening hum of hundreds of computers stacked on shelves hard at work mining for crypto money.

Researchers clarify mystery about proposed battery material

August 15, 2017

Battery researchers agree that one of the most promising possibilities for future battery technology is the lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) battery, which could provide three times as much power for a given weight as today's ...

Signs of distracted driving—pounding heart, sweaty nose

August 15, 2017

Distracted driving—texting or absent-mindedness—claims thousands of lives a year. Researchers from the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute have produced an extensive dataset examining how ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.