The ongoing question around Meta’s ownership of GIPHY (or not) has taken another turn, with the UK’s antitrust regulator once again being called up on to clarify its concerns around Meta’s purchase of the GIF platform, which may or may not result in GIPHY becoming a Meta company sometime soon.

To recap, back in 2020, Meta announced that it had acquired GIPHY in a deal reportedly worth $400 million, with a view to integrating GIPHY’s network of GIF content into its various tools. That deal was challenged in the UK on antitrust grounds, with the UK CMA then pushing to unwind the acquisition entirely, due to concerns that it would give Meta an unfair advantage in the UK digital ads market.

I mean, Meta’s network is already pretty big, and GIPHY wouldn’t seemingly add a heap to it. But the view stated by the CMA was that GIPHY’s own ad ambitions would help to bolster Meta’s activity, expanding its already significant market presence.

Since then, Meta and the CMA have been locked in ongoing court battles in the UK, which has essentially put the GIPHY deal on hold.

But now, it may be coming to an end, with the court rejecting the CMA’s case.

As per Bloomberg:

“A judge quashed the Competition and Markets Authority’s order that Meta must sell Giphy, according to a ruling made public Monday. The case will now be referred back to the CMA for the watchdog to reconsider whether the deal would reduce competition in the market for display advertising and social media services.”

So it sounds like the CMA’s case may not hold up, which could see Meta fully integrating GIPHY sometime soon.

What exactly that looks like, nobody knows, as GIPHY content is already integrated into Meta’s apps, in various ways. But it may see more GIF tools brought into the post creation process within Facebook and Instagram specifically, while it could also see Meta re-assessing GIPHYs existing partnerships with rival apps, including Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat and more.

Interestingly, GIPHY has established new content partnerships with both TikTok and Reddit this year, well after the Meta deal was announced. That seems a little odd, given their direct competition with Meta’s apps, but maybe the exposure value is too great for GIPHY to not enable such integrations – or maybe, GIPHY is operating entirely independent of Meta for now, till the final details of the UK court case are finalized.

We could find out soon – the CMA will now have to reassess its case against the acquisition, and find a new, more compelling angle to oppose it. Otherwise, the deal goes through, and GIPHY officially becomes part of the Meta family.

Then we’ll see what Meta has in the works for new integrations of GIF content.     

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