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Facebook questions British watchdog’s authority to order Giphy sale

Amnon Free Press/Central Press Syndicate, USA. Read, Enjoy and Share the Latest US News Updates.

September 8, 2021

(Reuters) – Facebook has made a case for not selling Giphy in a strongly worded letter to a British regulator and questioned the watchdog’s recent call to divest the GIF website over competition concerns.

Facebook argued that “the inability of the CMA (the UK Competition and Markets Authority) to issue any order against Giphy raises serious questions as to the enforceability of any divestment order and whether any such order could be effective,” in its letter that CMA published online https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/613721658fa8f503ba3dc81d/Facebook_Giphy_-_Response_to_Remedies_Notice.pdf on Wednesday.

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The CMA last month hinted that Facebook, the world’s largest social media company, might need to sell Giphy based on its preliminary findings that the deal would hurt the display advertising market and other social media networks.

Facebook bought Giphy, a website for making and sharing animated images, or GIFs, last year to integrate it with its photo-sharing app, Instagram. The deal, pegged at $400 million by news website Axios, was being probed by the CMA since January.

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Facebook in its letter said the CMA’s provisional findings had “fundamental errors,” and the British regulator had failed to provide alternative remedies that would have been “far less intrusive and equally effective” for it to clear the deal.

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California-based Facebook declined to comment further and the CMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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