The European Union's antitrust watchdog is poised to fine Facebook Inc. on Thursday for giving "incorrect or misleading information" to investigators who were probing its purchase of chat app WhatsApp in 2014, according to people familiar with the matter.
The European Commission's fine is expected to be "significant" to set an example for other companies registering their mergers for review with EU authorities, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.
The commission could fine the company up to 1% of its world-wide revenue. That could work out to as much as $276 million based on Facebook's 2016 revenue.
The commission opened the formal investigation into the merger last December, saying it suspects Facebook inaccurately claimed during the 2014 takeover that it was unable to reliably match user accounts between Facebook and WhatsApp -- something the company started doing two years later when it began combining user data across the services.
The EU's decision wouldn't reverse the merger or force fundamental changes to the way Facebook operates, but it would be the second fine against the company to come from a European authority in a single week.
The FT earlier reported the plans by the commission to fine Facebook on Thursday.
Write to Natalia Drozdiak at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 17, 2017 15:19 ET (19:19 GMT)