The Competition Commission of India is reviewing Facebook’s acquisition of a 9.9% stake for $5.7 million in Jio Platforms, Bloomberg reported, citing chairman Ashok Kumar Gupta as saying that the CCI looks to prevent misuse of data in all deals it assesses.
It will also consider if new criteria should be included in its assessment of the deal. Gupta reportedly added that factors such as strong network effects, high returns to scale, and access to large amount of data will incentivise firms to carry out anti-competitive conduct. Facebook’s regulatory filing to the CCI reportedly bats for the deal being pro-competition, and beneficial to kirana stores and local businesses.
In April, Facebook had bought the stake in Jio Platforms Limited, the parent company of Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, making Facebook the largest minority shareholder in Jio Platforms. Facebook itself has 350 million users in India, and WhatsApp has over 400 million monthly active users.
In May, Reliance Industries’ home delivery service JioMart went live in major cities and in 200 towns. The much-touted WhatsApp integration, a key selling point for JioMart, doesn’t seem to be active yet for most parts of the country. Even in Navi Mumbai, where the service is already operating, the WhatsApp integration just links users to the JioMart website to place their order there instead.
Jio Platforms’ deal with Facebook is expected to bear fruit once WhatsApp is allowed to carry out UPI payments service, something that WhatsApp had piloted over two years ago, but has encountered regulatory hurdles ever since. WhatsApp likely has over 400 million active users in India. WhatsApp payments’ service was launched in Brazil on Monday.