Facebook backed out of advanced acquisition talks with social chat app Houseparty late last year due to growing antitrust concerns, according to The New York Times.
While the deal would have been far less expensive than what Facebook has paid for marquee acquisitions like Instagram and WhatsApp, the report notes that Facebook feared the transaction would bring more regulatory scrutiny.
Facebook recently confirmed that it’s under active antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice recently signaled that it’s beginning a broad antitrust probe of large tech companies. Such investigations could make it harder for Facebook to acquire rivals, whether they are small or large companies.
In the case of Houseparty, Facebook would have likely gotten a good price for an app that’s popular among younger people. Facebook briefly tried to copy Houseparty with a video chat app of its own called Bonfire that was marketed to college students but never took off. Houseparty ended up selling to Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, for an undisclosed price.