Meta forced to sell Giphy after British antitrust order

1. Meta
A sign outside the corporate headquarters of Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, in Menlo Park, California, on November 4, 2021. (File photo: NYTimes)
LONDON — Meta said on Tuesday that it would sell Giphy, the online repository for video clips of pets, facial expressions, and other animated GIFs, a major defeat for the social media giant in a long-running dispute with British antitrust regulators.اضافة اعلان

It is the first time Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has been forced by regulators to sell a part of its business.

GIFs are often funny and shared as silly reactions in conversations online — like The Rock lifting his eyebrow — but the case is an example of the serious stance that antitrust regulators are taking toward the biggest tech companies around the world.

Meta purchased Giphy in 2020 for $315 million, giving it ownership of one of the largest hubs for the looping short-form videos that are a common means of internet communication. But British regulators said the deal reduced competition in social media and in the display advertising market, an area Meta dominates and where Giphy was beginning to expand before the deal.

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority first ordered Meta to sell Giphy last year, but the judgment was appealed to a tribunal, which recently sided with the government. On Tuesday, Meta said that it would accept the British ruling as “the final word on the matter” and would sell Giphy. Meta said the sale will apply globally, not just in Britain.

Regulators around the world are scrutinizing the common Silicon Valley tactic of buying up smaller companies that could potentially grow into major competitors. In the United States, Meta is battling claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission and several states that it acquired smaller rivals to thwart competition.

In July, the FTC sued to block Meta’s purchase of Within, the maker of a popular virtual reality fitness app called Supernatural.

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