Meta's Giphy acquisition expected to be blocked by regulators, report says

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority reportedly argues the acquisition harms competition in the social media and digital advertising markets.

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Alexandra is an associate editor on CNET's Performance Optimization team. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, and interned with CNET's Tech and News teams while in school. Prior to joining CNET full time, Alexandra was a breaking news fellow at Newsweek, where she covered current events and politics.
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Meta's acquisition of Giphy may be blocked.

Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The UK Competition and Markets Authority is expected to block Meta's $315 million acquisition of Giphy in the near future, the Financial Times reported Monday. Meta, previously known as Facebook, moved to buy the online GIF platform in May 2020

However, the UK regulator expressed concern with the deal and provisionally ruled in August that Meta should be forced to sell Giphy. The regulators have until Dec. 1 to make their final decision. 

The company responded to a request for comment with a statement it gave in August. "We disagree with the CMA's preliminary findings, which we do not believe to be supported by the evidence," a Meta spokesperson said in a statement following the provisional ruling. "As we have demonstrated, this merger is in the best interest of people and businesses in the UK -- and around the world -- who use GIPHY and our services. We will continue to work with the CMA to address the misconception that the deal harms competition."

The Competition and Markets Authority argues the acquisition could harm competition in the social media and digital advertising markets. If the CMA moves to reverse Meta's Giphy deal, it would be the first time the regulators overturned an acquisition in Big Tech, according to the Financial Times.

In October, the watchdog fined Meta £50.5 million (around $69.6 million) for failing to provide full updates showing its compliance with an order to continue to compete with the GIF company and avoid further integration while the acquisition was under investigation.