The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said on Tuesday that Meta’s control over the popular search engine for GIFs – short videos and looping animations – would reduce competition between social media platforms and had already eliminated a potential rival in the advertising market.
Facebook (, as it was then called Meta, bought Giphy, apparently for $ 400 million, in 2020. He intended to integrate the service with Instagram, which would make it easier for people to find GIFs relevant to their lives. stories and their direct messages. )
In its initial announcement of the deal, Facebook committed to granting third parties the same level of access to Giphy’s content as before. Less than a month after the acquisition was announced, however, the CMA said it was reviewing it.
“After consulting with interested businesses and organizations – and evaluating the alternative solutions … offered by Facebook – the CMA concluded that its competition concerns can only be resolved if Facebook sells Giphy in its entirety to an approved buyer,” said the CMA in a statement.
“Consumers and Giphy are doing better with the support of our infrastructure, talent and resources,” said a spokesperson for Meta. “Together, Meta and Giphy would make Giphy’s product better for the millions of people, businesses, developers and API partners in the UK and around the world who use Giphy every day, providing more choices for everyone. “
In its first findings published in August, the regulator said Facebook’s control over Giphy could allow it to cut off other social media sites’ access to GIFs. Giphy’s services are currently integrated with platforms such as Twitter (, Snapchat, ) Apples ( iMessage and )Mou (. )
While far from the biggest deal Meta has ever struck, the Giphy acquisition is the company’s first large-scale deal to be broken by government officials.
The discovery is a blow to Meta’s aspirations amid intense antitrust scrutiny by governments around the world, and a potential red flag for other big tech companies pursuing acquisitions in this regulatory climate.
The CMA said in August that Giphy planned to expand its growing advertising business into the UK ahead of its takeover, a move that could have given UK brands a new way to promote themselves and create a direct challenger to Facebook on the advertising market. .
“However, Facebook terminated Giphy’s paid advertising partnerships as a result of the deal, which means that a significant source of potential competition has been lost,” the CMA said in a blog post.
– Rob North, Brian Fung and Kaya Yurieff contributed to this article.