Meta’s Giphy acquisition will likely stay blocked after UK appeals court ruling

In a judgment on Tuesday, an appeals tribunal in the United Kingdom largely upheld a previous ruling ordering Meta (parent company to Facebook) to unwind its acquisition of Giphy, as first reported by the Financial Times. The judgment comes more than six months after the initial ruling by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and more than two years after Meta first announced its intention to acquire the company.

The ruling was not a total defeat for Meta, however. While the appeals tribunal found in favor of 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 for nearly a year after it became aware of the ruling, thus undermining the company’s defense. The tribunal will decide how to remediate this error in the coming weeks in consultation with Meta and the CMA.

Still, the judgment lays out a tough road ahead for the proposed acquisition. The tribunal broadly upheld the reasoning presented in the decision and is unlikely to overturn it wholesale, leaving Meta with the difficult task of unwinding the deal.

Reached for comment, Meta emphasized the upheld claim and its impact on the broader ruling. “Today’s ruling found that the CMA’s approach to its investigation was ‘difficult to defend’ and ‘undermines the entirety of the Decision,’” said Meta spokesperson Christopher Sgro. “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.”

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