UK competition regulator asks Facebook Meta owners to sell GIF maker Giphy

FILE PHOTO: New 3D printed Facebook Rename Logo Meta and Facebook logo seen in this illustration
FILE PHOTO: The new Facebook Rename Logo 3D Printed Meta and the Facebook logo are seen in this illustration taken November 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

November 30, 2021

Britain’s competition regulator has ordered Facebook owner Meta Platforms to sell animation platform Giphy after finding that the acquisition could harm the social network’s users and advertisers in the UK. , dealing a blow to the US-based tech giant.

The Marking and Competition Authority (CMA) on Tuesday said the decision was in line with interim findings that Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy last May would reduce competition among social media platforms. and in the display advertising market.

Facebook, which was recently renamed Meta Platforms, said it could appeal the CMA’s decision.

This is not the first time the CMA has intervened in a major merger. In February, it said that Viagogo must sell part of Stubhub’s international business because their merger would reduce competition in the UK.

“The tie between Facebook and Giphy has eliminated a potential competitor in the display advertising market,” said Stuart McIntosh, chair of the CMA’s independent Facebook-Giphy investigation.

“By asking Facebook to sell Giphy, we are protecting the social network’s millions of users and fostering competition and innovation in digital advertising,” he added.

Facebook said it disagreed with the decision.

“We are reviewing the decision and considering all options, including appeal,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement.

The CMA in October fined about $70 million for the violation. violated an order that was imposed during the investigation into the deal, which hinted in August that Facebook may need Facebook to sell Giphy -giphy-britains-competition-concerns-2021 -08-12.

The CMA began investigating the deal in January of this year and in April turned it into an in-depth investigation.

Facebook purchased Giphy, a website that creates and shares animated photos, or GIFs, for $400 million in May 2020 to integrate it with the photo-sharing app, Instagram. It has defended its agreement and proposals with the CMA over Giphy.

Another major GIF provider is Google’s Tensor.

The CMA has been actively looking at the monopolies of big tech companies. Last week, Alphabet Inc’s Google committed to more restrictions for its use of data from its Chrome browser to address CMA’s concerns about its plans to ban third-party cookies that advertisers use to track consumers.

The Financial Times first reported about the CMA’s plan to block the Facebook-Giphy deal.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru, and Paul Sandle in London; editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Jason Neely and Susan Fenton) UK competition regulator asks Facebook Meta owners to sell GIF maker Giphy

Caroline Bleakley

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