Facebook Owner Meta-Giphy Deal Block Quashed by UK Tribunal, Asks Regulator to Reconsider Filing

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Britain’s competition regulator said on Monday it would carry out another review of Facebook owner Meta’s acquisition of Giphy after a tribunal quashed its original decision to block it.

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last year ordered Meta to sell animated images platform Giphy, which it acquired for a reported $400 million (nearly Rs. 3,200 crore), because of its concerns about a loss of a possible competitor in advertising, and the potential impact on social media rivals.

Recently, the US tech giant partially won an appeal against the regulator, when Britain’s Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) said that the CMA had “failed properly to consult” and had “wrongly excised portions from its decision”.

The CAT said it had quashed the regulator’s ruling and referred the matter back for a new decision.

In response, the CMA said the tribunal had endorsed its approach to reviewing mergers that might harm innovation, but had agreed to reconsider its ruling.

“We will commence our review shortly,” it said.

In February this year, Britain’s competition regulator fined Facebook owner Meta 1.5 million pounds (roughly Rs. 11 crore) over fresh issues regarding its purchase of Giphy, a sanction that the US firm said it would accept.

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has taken a tough line with major tech groups in recent years, investigating their dominance of markets such as digital advertising and seeking to block the Facebook-Giphy deal.

The CMA ordered Meta to sell animated images platform Giphy in May 2020, after it decided the remedies offered by the US company did not answer its concerns over the impact to digital advertising.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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