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UK regulator orders Facebook to sell Giphy in global first

WashingtonExaminer
WashingtonExaminer
 2021-11-30

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B ritain’s Competition and Markets Authority has ordered Facebook owner Meta to sell Giphy after it purchased the company for $315 million last year.

The move by the antitrust watchdog is the first time a global regulator has ordered a major tech company to offload a completed deal, according to Bloomberg . The agency said on Tuesday that it found that the merger “has resulted or would result in a substantial lessening of competition.”

“We have decided that the only effective way to address the competition issues that we have identified is for Facebook to sell GIPHY, in its entirety, to a suitable buyer,” the regulator said in a summary of its final report on the deal, which was released on Tuesday.

Facebook, which rebranded under the corporate name Meta in October, has gobbled up several smaller companies in recent years but has never been ordered to sell a company after a deal was already inked.

FTC FILES RENEWED ANTITRUST LAWSUIT AGAINST FACEBOOK

Meta now must decide whether to comply with the regulator’s order or to appeal to the United Kingdom’s Competition and Appeals Tribunal, which will scrutinize the Competition and Markets Authority’s decision on the matter.

“We disagree with this decision. We are reviewing the decision and considering all options, including appeal. Both consumers and GIPHY are better off with the support of our infrastructure, talent, and resources,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner .

Facebook has a long history of trying to corner the social media space with minimal pushback. It bought up social media rival Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp, which it purchased for $19 billion in 2014.

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In August, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed an amended antitrust lawsuit against Facebook alleging social media monopolization. This month, the FTC argued that the federal court should allow the lawsuit to proceed because the company has "interfered with the competitive process by targeting nascent threats through exclusionary conduct."

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