giphy: UK appeals court upholds ruling to block Meta’s Giphy acquisition

London: An appeals tribunal in the UK has upheld a previous ruling directing Meta (formerly Facebook) to unwind its $315 million acquisition of online database and search engine Giphy.

In November last year, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had ordered Meta to sell Giphy, as the acquisition could harm social media users and UK advertisers.

The CMA later fined Meta $2 million for failing to disclose key changes regarding its acquisition of Giphy.

In a judgment on Tuesday, the appeals tribunal unanimously dismissed all of Meta’s grounds, except that the CMA failed to properly consult and wrongly excised portions from the decision.

While the appeals tribunal favoured the CMA in five of the six claims, the tribunal did rule that the CMA had failed to properly inform Meta of Snapchat’s acquisition of Gfycat (a short video hosting company) for nearly a year after it became aware of the ruling.

Meta emphasised the upheld claim and its impact on the broader ruling.

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“Today’s ruling found that the CMA’s approach to its investigation was adifficult to defend’ and aundermines the entirety of the Decision,'” a Meta spokesperson told The Verge.

“We look forward to understanding how these serious process flaws will be addressed. We firmly believe our investment would enhance GIPHY’s product for the millions of people, businesses, and partners who use it.”

Facebook had moved to buy the online GIF platform in May 2020.

The CMA had found that Giphy’s advertising services had the potential to compete with Facebook’s own display advertising services.

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