Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook has agreed to buy Giphy, the popular platform of sharable animated images, Axios has learned from multiple sources. The total deal value is around $400 million.

Background: A source close to the situation says that the two companies first began talking prior to the pandemic, although that was more about a partnership than an acquisition.

  • Giphy is expected to retain its own branding, with its primary integration to come via Facebook's Instagram platform.
  • New York-based Giphy had raised around $150 million in VC funding since its 2013 inception, from firms like Betaworks (which incubated the company), Lerer Hippeau, IVP, DFJ Growth, GGV Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Its most recent private valuation was around $600 million.
  • Yes, but: Facebook is facing enormous blowback over its previous acquisitions, which means that this deal, however small by comparison, is likely to face a lot of antitrust scrutiny by regulators. The tech giant is currently under investigation by federal and state lawmakers for antitrust.

The bottom line: Giphy is a massive video library, with hundreds of millions of daily users that share billions of GIFs, that generates revenue via branded content. Adding Facebook's ad sales and marketing firepower could be what transforms it from a popular service into a highly profitable one.

Update: Facebook just made it official on its company blog.

Source: Giphy

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Zuckerberg testified before FTC during antitrust probe into Facebook

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified during a Federal Trade Commission hearing this week as part of the agency's antitrust investigation into the social media company, Politico reports.

Why it matters via Axios' Ashley Gold: The FTC deposing Zuckerberg is not a surprising move in an antitrust case that may result in a lawsuit. It also gives the agency some cover after being criticized for not having Zuckerberg testify in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal case.

Trump signs bill to prevent government shutdown

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President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding into early December, White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed early Thursday.

Driving the news: The Senate on Tuesday passed the legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10. The move averts a government shutdown before the Nov. 3 election, though funding did expire briefly before the bill was signed.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 35 mins ago - Science

In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed over 51,620 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

More than 1700 firefighters are battling 26 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: More than 8,100 wildfires have burned across a record 39 million-plus acres, killing 29 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.