Facebook-owner Meta told to sell Giphy as UK regulator blocks acquisition

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a live-streamed virtual and augmented reality conference to announce the rebrand of Facebook as Meta, in this screen grab taken from a video released October 28, 2021.

Facebook | via Reuters

Meta, Facebook’s parent, has been told by the U.K.’s competition watchdog that it must sell gif-sharing platform Giphy.

The Competition and Markets Authority said Tuesday the deal could harm social media users and U.K. advertisers.

In August, the CMA said it had provisionally found Facebook’s purchase of Giphy would harm competition between social media platforms and remove a potential challenger in the display ad market.

At the time, the CMA said it may require Facebook to unwind the deal, which is reportedly worth $400 million, and sell off Giphy if its competition concerns are ultimately confirmed.

When the deal was announced, Facebook said it wanted to further integrate Giphy into the Instagram app “so that people can find just the right way to express themselves.”

The CMA fined Facebook £50.5 million ($67.4 million) in October for failing to provide regular updates to show that it is complying with an order. It said Facebook “significantly limited the scope of those updates” despite repeated warnings.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

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