Tue, 19 Oct 2021

U.S. might block Zoom acquisition of Five9 call center

Robert Besser
25 Sep 2021, 17 GMT+10

WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. Justice Department is probing Zoom, the videoconferencing company, following its $14.7 billion deal for cloud call center company Five9 "to determine whether this application poses a risk to the national security or law enforcement interests of the United States."

In an August filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the Justice Department said it "believes that such risk may be raised by the foreign participation (including the foreign relationships and ownership) associated with the application."

The Justice Department did not specify what the foreign ties of concern were and a spokesperson declined to answer questions Tuesday.

Zoom has said that purchasing San Ramon, California-based Five9 will accelerate its growth and give it access to more business clients.

Zoom said in an emailed statement it hopes to receive the required regulatory approvals and close the Five9 deal in the first half of 2022.

Zoom said in a late August regulatory filing that it is cooperating with ongoing investigations by prosecutors in New York and California, who last summer had sent subpoenas asking about interactions with the Chinese government, among other things.

Last year Zoom drew attention for blocking online meetings related to Beijing's 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and temporarily suspending the accounts of three U.S. or Hong Kong-based activists at the request of the Chinese government. The company then said it would no longer "allow requests from the Chinese government to impact anyone outside of mainland China."

Tensions in recent years have increased between Washington and Beijing, with disputes over trade, technology, cybersecurity and human rights.

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