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30 Nov 2021

Facebook Owner Meta ordered by the UK Regulators to sell GIPHY

The Index Today

The U.K.’s antitrust watchdog said that Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. must sell Giphy to address competition concerns, the first time the regulator has forced a Big Tech firm to unwind an already completed deal, according to Bloomberg News.

The Competition and Markets Authority concluded its in-depth probe into the tie up and found the deal with the GIF search engine would reduce competition between social media platforms, it said in a statement Tuesday. It had initially come to this conclusion in provisional findings published in August.

The $315 million deal for Giphy, completed last year, raised concerns from U.K. regulators from the beginning. The antitrust probe was initially delayed after officials ordered Facebook to pause plans to integrate the company, sparking a lengthy court battle.
It’s the first time a Big Tech firm has been ordered to sell a business rather than pay a hefty fine. Meta now has two choices: to appeal or divest.
The company will be able to appeal the decision to the U.K.’s Competition and Appeals Tribunal where it would be heard as a judicial review, a court process that looks at how the CMA came to its decision. If Meta accepts the CMA’s ruling it will have to find a suitable buyer that will be vetted by the regulator.
“We disagree with this decision,” a Meta spokesperson said. “We are reviewing the decision and considering all options, including appeal.”

Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images

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