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FTC give nod to Facebook-Instagram deal

The Federal Trade Commission has given its nod to Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, voting unanimously to let the deal proceed as proposed.

In a press release announcing the decision, the FTC said that it saw no antitrust issues with the deal and will allow it to move ahead.

In a statement, Facebook said that it was “pleased that the Federal Trade Commission has cleared the transaction after its careful and thorough review.”

Facebook announced that it would acquire the photo-sharing service in April, in a deal estimated at the time to be worth $1 billion in cash and company shares. Since then, Facebook’s share price has fallen dramatically, putting the final value of the deal somewhere around $747 million.

Photos are a key part of Facebook’s social network, and many hoped that the technology and talent that came with Instagram would help improve Facebook’s mobile experience. Since announcing the acquisition, Facebook has released its own photo-sharing app called Facebook camera.

Instagram, launched in 2010, currently has more than 80 million registered users and is available on Android and iOS devices.

In April, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said that the company did not plan on “doing many more of these” high-profile acquisitions of companies with such a broad user base.

He said at the time that Instagram users could expect to continue to be able to connect to rival social networking services such as Tumblr and Twitter and that Facebook would not just try to “integrate everything into Facebook.”

An Instagram update made just last week, adding a geolocation feature, showed that the service is continuing to evolve, but it also drew swift criticism from longtime users who found the update invasive.

The deal between the two companies has already been approved by the Office of Fair Trading in Britain. It was originally expected to close in the second quarter of 2012, but Facebook told potential investors ahead of its May 18 initial public offering to expect the deal to close by the end of the year.

Facebook closed the day’s trading at $19.44 per share.

(Post Co. Chairman and CEO Don Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Related stories:

Facebook stock decline shows Wall Street is wary of give-it-away-free approach

Facebook still under $20 per share after Thiel sell-off, but recovers from new low

Facebook stock is trading at $19 and has lost half its market value since May public offering

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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