The European Union's top competition watchdog has on Thursday approved the planned purchase of Kustomer by Meta, the tech group formerly known as Facebook - subject to conditions.
Meta must ensure rivals to Kustomer have "free and comparable access" to the California-headquartered tech group's communication services, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a press release.
Founded in 2015 and based in New York, the start-up Kustomer, a customer relationship management company, automates servicing customer queries with so-called chatbots through online web chats.
Meta offers popular messengering services for businesses to interact with customers through social media platforms Instagram and Facebook, and the messenger app WhatsApp.
Due to the risk of market restriction in the customer relations management industry, the European Commission began an in-depth investigation of the merger in August 2021 with international partners.
The investigation found Meta had the ability to engage in exclusion strategies against potential rivals to Kustomer, according to the commission's press release.
The commission said it reached an agreement with Meta to ensure equivalent access to the tech group's communication services for Kustomer's rivals and new market entrants.
Meta is also to make available any upgrades to its messaging services used by Kustomer's clients available to the start-up's competitors.
A trustee to be appointed before the completion of the acquisition is to monitor the adherence of Meta to the commitments.
Meta did not provide details about the price or other financial conditions of the deal announced in November 2021.
The Wall Street Journal reported at the time that Kustomer was valued at just over 896 million euros (1 billion dollars).