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Meta agrees to sell Giphy following U.K. regulators' order

Kerry Flynn
Oct 18, 2022
Illustration of Meta’s logo wrapped around a gavel.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Meta's hopes to acquire Giphy are finally kaput after the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority blocked the deal in a decision released Tuesday.

Why it matters: If this sounds like déjà vu, that's likely because you remember that the CMA told Meta to sell the GIF platform last November. Meta appealed, but this time, it's actually over.

Flashback: Facebook agreed to buy Giphy in May 2020 for around $400 million. Almost immediately, the deal raised antitrust questions.

Details: The U.K. regulators said Tuesday that Meta's Giphy acquisition was anticompetitive because it could limit other platforms' access to GIFs and it removed a competitor in the advertising industry.

  • "This deal ... already resulted in the removal of a potential challenger in the U.K. display ad market, while also giving Meta the ability to further increase its substantial market power in social media," said Stuart McIntosh, chair of the independent inquiry group carrying out the investigation.

The other side: Meta said in a statement Tuesday it would not appeal the decision and would work with the CMA on divesting the business.

  • "We will continue to evaluate opportunities — including through acquisition — to bring innovation and choice to more people in the UK and around the world," the statement said.

What's next: More antitrust cases against tech companies could be coming — both internationally and in the U.S.

  • The Federal Trade Commission has attempted to block Meta's acquisition of virtual reality fitness startup Within Unlimited. Meta filed to dismiss it last week.
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