Britain’s competition regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook owner META to sell GIF platform Giphy, after a court in the summer upheld its view that the takeover had curtailed innovation in the advertising market.
Meta said it would accept the Competition and Markets Authority’s order to cancel the 2020 deal.
“We are disappointed with the CMA’s decision, but we accept today’s ruling as the final word on this matter,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement. “We will work closely with the CMA to liquidate Giphy.”
The UK regulator in November 2021 blocked the deal, valued at nearly $400 million, over concerns that Meta could deny or limit competitors’ access to GIFs.
The agency was also concerned about losing out to a potential competitor in displaying ads, although there is no Givi in this sector in Britain.
Meta appealed the ruling, but the court upheld the CMA’s decision last June.
The CMA said it had considered new applications from Meta and Giphy and additional evidence since the appeal, but had not changed its opinion.
“This deal will significantly reduce competition in two markets,” said Stuart Mackintosh, head of an independent investigation group.
“This has already removed a potential competitor in the UK display ad market, Givi, while also giving Meta the ability to increase its significant market power in social media,” he added.
“The only way this can be addressed is to sell Giphy,” McIntosh stressed.