Meta Platforms Inc. is fighting allegations by the United Kingdom’s antitrust watchdog that the tech giant is violating anticompetitive rules, Bloomberg reported Monday (April 25).
Meta has accused the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of being “irrational” and “inconsistent” when it determined Giphy, the GIF search engine, was a competitor in the display advertising market.
Lawyers for the Menlo Park, California-based company are trying to overturn the CMA’s order to unravel the $315 million deal.
Meta argued at the start of a London trial that despite the CMA’s review of more than 280,000 documents from the merging parties, not one demonstrated they compete in the ad market in the U.K. or globally.
In court documents prepared for the four-day trial, Meta said no other company came forward to pay an acceptable price for Giphy. The American online database and search engine allows users to search for and share short videos without sound that resemble animated GIF files.
During the hearing on Monday, a Meta attorney said Snap Inc., the American camera and social media company and owner of Snapchat, Spectacles and Bitmoji, made a verbal offer for Giphy and the company valued at $142 million. Instead, Snap bought rival GIF search engine Gfycat.
“The information made public during today’s hearing makes clear what Meta has said from day one: this deal promotes competition and improves choices for people,” Meta said in a statement Monday.
Last fall, citing potential harm to social media users and U.K. advertisers, the CMA ruled that Meta must sell Giphy.
Related news: UK’s CMA Demands That Meta Sell Giphy
The CMA determined that Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy would limit competition between social media platforms, and said the transaction has already removed Giphy as a possible contender in the display advertising market.