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Facebook Loses Most Of UK Appeal Over Giphy Deal

 |  June 14, 2022

Facebook mostly lost its court bid to overturn the UK antitrust regulator’s decision that the acquisition of GIF search engine Giphy raised serious competition concerns.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal said Tuesday that it “unanimously dismissed” all but one of Meta’s arguments against the findings of the probe which ended with an order to unwind the deal. However, judges did find that the watchdog didn’t consult properly on certain aspects of the merger probe.

Following an in-depth investigation, the CMA had found that Meta’s purchase of Giphy would reduce competition between social media platforms and had already removed Giphy as a potential challenger in the display advertising market in the UK.

In an approval handed down today, the tribunal upheld the CMA’s decision on five of the six challenged grounds. In particular, the CAT had “no hesitation” in concluding that the CMA’s finding that the merger between Meta and Giphy substantially reduced dynamic competition was lawful.

The Tribunal only found in Meta’s favour in relation to the treatment of certain third-party confidential information. It considered that the CMA’s approach to disclosure in this case overly favoured confidentiality concerns of third parties.

Commenting on the decision, CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said: “We welcome this resounding endorsement by the Competition Appeal Tribunal of the CMA’s approach to reviewing mergers that may harm innovation. Innovation is a vital part of the competitive process, particularly in digital markets.

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