Meta’s GIPHY acquisition pending CMA review, orders UK court

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Meta’s ownership of GIPHY is under review once again. The UK antitrust regulator has halted the forced sale of GIPHY to clarify its concerns around Meta’s purchase of the platform. The verdict may or may not be in favor of Meta’s ownership of the GIF platform.t

Giphy logo displayed on a phone screen and Meta logo displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on November 29, 2021 (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In 2020, Meta revealed its acquisition of GIPHY amounting to $400 million. Its aim was to integrate GIPHY’s GIF content into its apps. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) pushed to revert the acquisition. It cited concerns of Meta having an unfair lead in the country’s digital ads market.

Meta and the UK CMA have been locked into court battles since then. It has kept GIPHY’s ownership status floating.

The latest court ruling in the country may now finally put an end to it.

“A judge quashed the Competition and Markets Authority’s order that Meta must sell Giphy, according to a ruling made public Monday. The case will now be referred back to the CMA for the watchdog to reconsider whether the deal would reduce competition in the market for display advertising and social media services,” reports Bloomberg.

GIPHY’S GIFs are already integrated into Meta’s apps. If the ruling works in favor of Meta, it may see more post-creation tools in Facebook and Instagram. It could also affect GIPHY’s partnerships with Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat and other Meta rival apps.

GIPHY has signed deals with TikTok and Reddit this year. And these are well after the Meta deal. GIPHY may have seen the exposure value to be big enough to integrate with Meta’s rival apps.  Otherwise, GIPHY is independent from Meta’s management for now, at least until the UK court has a final ruling.

The CMA must reconsider its case against the acquisition. If it still is against it, it must find a more compelling position to challenge it. Or else, the deal will push though and GIPHY will officially be a part of Meta’s portfolio.

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Author: Francis Rey

Francis is a voracious reader and prolific writer. He has been writing about social media and technology for more than 10 years. During off hours, he relishes moments with his wife and daughter.

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