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British regulator tells Facebook owner to sell Giphy

2021-11-30 17:43 by
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The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) advised Facebook's parent company on Tuesday to sell Giphy, a platform that allows users to share GIFs.

The antitrust watchdog reportedly argued that the acquisition deal between Meta and Giphy could harm social media users and U.K. advertisers by suppressing competition for animated images on the Facebook platform.

Facebook bought Giphy in May 2020 for a reported $400 million "but has been required to hold the businesses separate" since June 2020, when the CMA imposed an Initial Enforcement Order (IEO), the UK government body said in a summary of its final report today. After the 17-month investigation, "we have decided that the only effective way to address the competition issues that we have identified is for Facebook to sell Giphy, in its entirety, to a suitable buyer," the CMA wrote.

The regulator also was concerned that the deal removed potential competition from the U.K.'s 7 billion pound ($9.3 billion) display advertising market, of which Facebook controls half.

"Facebook terminated Giphy's advertising services at the time of the merger, removing an important source of potential competition," the regulator wrote. "The CMA considers this particularly concerning given that Facebook controls nearly half of the £7 billion display advertising market in the UK."

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