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UPDATE 1-Israel mulls fine on Facebook for buying companies without consent

05/11/2021 05:47
UPDATE 1-Israel mulls fine on Facebook for buying companies without consent

Adds detail, comment

- Israel's Competition Authority said on Tuesday it was considering imposing a fine of about 6 million shekels ($1.8 million) on Facebook FB.O and its Israeli unit for buying two Israeli companies without the agency's consent.

It said the fine is subject to a hearing and Facebook has the right to submit its arguments to the authority's director general Michal Halperin within 60 days.

Facebook Israel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The authority said it sent a hearing letter to Facebook after it found the social media giant purchased two Israeli companies -- RedKix Inc in 2018 and Service Friend Ltd in 2019 -- without approval and contrary to Israel's Economic Competition Law.

"Facebook was obliged to report the transactions required the director general's consent since Facebook is a 'monopolist', whose market share in Israel exceeds 50%, the authority said.

Under the law, an entity which holds 50% or more in any relevant market is required to obtain the director general's consent before making any transaction that constitutes a "merger of companies", it noted.

The authority said Facebook, together with Instagram, is considered a monopoly in the market of social networks in Israel.

($1 = 3.2687 shekels)

(Reporting by Steven Scheer; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)

(([email protected]; +972 2 632 2210; Reuters Messaging: [email protected]; Twitter: @StevenMScheer))