CCI reviewing Facebook buy in Jio Platforms

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is reviewing Facebook’s acquisition of 9.99 per cent stake in Jio Platforms.

The CCI looks to prevent misuse of data in all the deals it assesses, Chairman Ashok Kumar Gupta said, as per reports.

Gupta, however, did not comment further on the Facebook-Jio transaction pending examination.

CCI is also examining if new parameters should be included in its assessment criteria as currently some mergers and acquisitions escape the threshold for scrutiny even if potential harm is evident, Gupta added.

Peculiarities such as “strong network effects, high returns to scale and access to a huge amount of data” may incentivise digital firms to engage in anti-competitive conduct, Gupta said, without referring to any particular case, as per reports.

Gupta didn’t disclose a timeline for a decision on the Facebook-Jio review. As per rules, if the CCI doesn’t decide on the deal within 210 days, it is deemed to be approved.

Facebook, in its application to the competition commission, has argued that the deal does not alter the competitive landscape in any relevant market. Filings show Facebook and its unit WhatsApp Inc have proposed to set up a digital marketplace as part of the investment in Jio.

CCI is probing Amazon and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart over exclusive arrangements between the retailers and some mobile phone brands, and preferential treatment given to some sellers. Traders have been agitating against e-commerce companies who blame the industry for anti-competitive activities.

Facebook’s investment in Jio Platforms is part of a series of investments made global tech investors and private equity funds in the RIL digital arm, which has raised Rs 1.04 lakh crore. India is the fastest growing internet market and global tech companies are seeking a foothold here.

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