Facebook Inc (FB) has been fined €110 million ($122.5 million) by the European Commission for providing misleading information related to its 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp.
"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," said Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. "And it imposes a proportionate and deterrent fine on Facebook. The Commission must be able to take decisions about mergers' effects on competition in full knowledge of accurate facts."
The Commission has the authority to fine companies a sum equivalent to 1% of annual turnover which, in Facebook's case, could have amounted to $276 million based on its reported 2016 revenue total of $27.638 billion.
However, the Commission said that while Facebook "committed two separate infringements by providing incorrect and misleading information in the merger notification form and in the reply to a Commission request for information" it also "acknowledged its infringement of the rules and waived its procedural rights to have access to the file and to an oral hearing. This allowed the Commission to conduct the investigation more efficiently."
Facebook shares closed at $144.85 each in New York Wednesday after falling 3.29% on the session. The stock is indicated in premarket trading to open around 0.5% lower at $144.13 each.