Feb 24, 2023 - Technology

After court loss, FTC dismisses Meta-Within case

Illustration of Meta’s logo wrapped around a gavel.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The Federal Trade Commission will not pursue an internal antitrust case to reverse Meta's acquisition of virtual reality startup Within, per a regulatory filing on Friday.

Driving the news: The FTC's filing says the complaint against Meta has been dismissed. Previously, the agency had been weighing whether to pursue the case in an administrative court after losing an effort to stop the deal in California district court.

Why it matters: Meta can count this as am antitrust win and it marks a major loss for the FTC under chair Lina Khan, who has taken an aggressive stance against tech mergers.

What they're saying: "We’re excited that the Within team has joined Meta, and we’re eager to partner with this talented group in bringing the future of VR fitness to life," a Meta spokesperson said.

  • The FTC declined to comment.

The big picture: Khan has said she wants to take more cases to court rather than reach settlements. Experts critical of the FTC's case previously told Axios they believed it would be extremely difficult to win.

Flashback: The FTC first filed to block Meta's acquisition last July, arguing that Meta is "already a key player at each level of the virtual reality sector," per a release.

  • The FTC argued that a Meta acquisition of Within would reduce future competition in the nascent VR market.
  • Meta argued that smaller companies like Within often need the resources of larger owners to achieve their potential and reach more customers.
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