Meta Fights U.K. Tech Regulator Over Order to Sell Giphy
(Bloomberg) -- Meta Platforms Inc. is challenging the U.K. antitrust watchdog’s landmark decision ordering the social network to unwind its $315 million purchase of GIF search engine Giphy.
The Facebook parent has filed an appeal of the decision at the U.K.’s Competition Appeal Tribunal and asked the court to halt the regulator’s order to sell Giphy, Meta said Thursday. Giphy gives users access to millions of GIFs, video clips often used to communicate in the digital age.
“The decision to block the deal is wrong on the law and the facts, and the evidence does not support the CMA’s conclusions or remedy,” a Meta company spokesperson said, referring to the Competition and Markets Authority.
Meta said it will challenge the CMA’s findings that Giphy could have been a competitor in U.K. display advertising and that it would eliminate social media rivals from Giphy’s services. It has also accused the regulator of withholding material evidence during the probe.
Last month’s decision is the first time a major global regulator has weighed in against a Silicon Valley giant and ordered it to unwind a deal after completion.
Regulators have rued lost opportunities to limit the scale of big tech firms. Europe is currently setting in place rules to restrict “killer acquisitions,” where businesses buy a rival before it can become a threat. Meta’s other deals like its purchase of Instagram are possibly more problematic than Giphy.
The CMA and Meta have been at odds throughout the merger review process. The CMA fined the company 50.5 million pounds ($67.7 million) for failing to update regulators on efforts to hold Giphy separate before the deal-vetting process was complete, while Meta has accused the CMA of failing to offer it alternatives to divestment.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.