Updated December 1 2021: CMA has released an official statement, and ordered Meta to sell Giphy "after finding that the deal could harm social media users and UK advertisers."
Facebook has recently renamed its company to Meta in a move to rebrand the business, and give it a fresh new look. Changing the branding and the company look doesn’t change how people and especially regulators think of the company, and the UK antitrust regulator may step in and block Meta to acquire Giphy, a popular GIF sharing network that’s integrated into a lot of popular apps and services.
Meta (then called Facebook) revealed that it was buying Giphy last year for $400 million. The deal meant that Meta could better integrate the popular GIF sharing service into its own platforms such as Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
The Financial Times reported (via XDA-Developers) that the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) might step in and block Meta’s acquisition of Giphy “in the coming days”. The antitrust regulator started an investigation back when the acquisition was announced to see whether it could harm and negatively affect the competition.
The CMA was investigating whether Meta would be able to cut off the social GIF network from other competing websites and services such as Snapchat, TikTok and more, or demand more information from competing services in exchange for more data. The CMA hasn’t announced any information or made an official statement about blocking the deal. If the Competition and Markets Authority decides to step in, it could force Meta to sell Giphy, and it’s unclear if the GIF integration would remain in place. Any integration-related query would largely depend on the new owner, who could draw up a new partnership between the two companies, but that would have to be done after the company is sold.
It’s also worth mentioning that the CMA hasn’t yet blocked any deals between any companies, although the regulator is also investigating NVIDIA’s purchase of ARM, a UK-based semiconductor and software company. NVIDIA announced that it wants to acquire the company for a massive $40 billion, but the deal hasn’t gone through yet.