UK watchdog expected to block Meta’s $315 million Giphy acquisition

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The UK Competition and Markets Authority is expected to block Meta’s $315 million acquisition of Giphy in the near future, media reports say.

Meta, previously known as Facebook, moved to buy the online GIF platform in May 2020.

However, the UK regulator expressed concern with the deal and provisionally ruled in August that Meta should be forced to sell Giphy. The regulators have to make their final decision until December 1, citing the Financial Times, CNET reported on Monday.

The company responded to a request for comment with a statement it gave in August.

“We disagree with the CMA’s preliminary findings, which we do not believe to be supported by the evidence,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement following the provisional ruling.

“As we have demonstrated, this merger is in the best interest of people and businesses in the UK — and around the world — who use GIPHY and our services. We will continue to work with the CMA to address the misconception that the deal harms competition,”

The Competition and Markets Authority argues the acquisition could harm competition in the social media and digital advertising markets.

If the CMA moves to reverse Meta’s Giphy deal, it would be the first time the regulators overturned an acquisition in Big Tech, according to the Financial Times.

In October, the watchdog fined Meta around $69.6 million for failing to provide full updates showing its compliance with an order to continue to compete with the GIF company and avoid further integration while the acquisition was under investigation.

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