Facebook is “not in the market” for big acquisitions, Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s No. 2 executive, said during a talk at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in France on Wednesday. Facebook’s last big acquisition was its $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp in 2014. In 2012, it paid $1 billion for Instagram, which Ms. Sandberg noted had only 13 employees at the time. Since the WhatsApp deal, Facebook has mostly acquired smaller companies.
Facebook’s reluctance to pursue big acquisitions isn’t entirely surprising given the heightened scrutiny it is facing from lawmakers and antitrust regulators. Some vocal critics such as co-founder Chris Hughes and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have called for the U.S. government to force Facebook to spin off Instagram and WhatsApp.
Ms. Sandberg also addressed Facebook’s recent Libra cryptocurrency announcement and the blowback the initiative has already received from regulators around the world. Maxine Waters, the Democratic chair of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, asked Facebook on Tuesday to pause its development of Libra until regulators can examine the project. “We’re a long way from launch,” Ms. Sandberg said. “Regulators have concerns. We’re already meeting with them. We know we have a lot of work to do.”