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UK’s competition authority orders Facebook to sell Giphy in an unprecedented ruling

The CMA assessed the impact of Giphy’s integration with Facebook on UK advertisers and users to reach a decision.

UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on November 30 ordered Facebook (now Meta) to sell Giphy, after concluding that the deal could harm social media users and UK advertisers and that these concerns “can only be addressed by Facebook selling Giphy in its entirety to an approved buyer.” Giphy, a popular online database and search engine for GIFs, was acquired by Facebook in May 2020 for a reported $400 million. But CMA launched a probe into the acquisition arguing that it was potentially anti-competitive and in July 2020 ordered Facebook to stop the integration of Giphy into the company pending a further ruling. This is the first time CMA has ordered a divestment of a completed acquisition by a tech giant, setting a precedent for future big tech purchases. Other major acquisitions by Facebook include WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus, and lawmakers in some countries including the US have previously suggested a review of these purchases as well. But unlike Giphy, these companies are much more integrated and present a different set of challenges. In a statement to MediaNama, a Facebook spokesperson said: "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. Together, Meta and Giphy would enhance Giphy’s product for the millions of people, businesses, developers and API partners in the U.K. and around the world who use Giphy every day, providing more choices for everyone." Earlier in August, CMA had…

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