Meta told the court today that Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) broke international law by blocking the company’s $400 million acquisition of animated image service Giphy. The company tried to acquire Giphy in May 2020, but the CMA stepped in last year to block the deal, saying it would severely limit competition in the digital advertising market.
Meta is still preventing the platform’s GIF making tools from being integrated with their Facebook social platform due to an ongoing investigation. The company must end the deal and sell Giphy if CMA’s concerns go to court. Earlier this year, Meta filed a formal complaint against the CMA’s November order to sell Giphy.
The Facebook owner’s lawyer told appeals court judges today that the deal’s negative impact on competition in the UK was far-fetched. “The legal issues we raise are that the CMA was misguided with regard to international law and conducted its activities in violation of international law.”— said the lawyer of the social network.
The representative of the regulator replies that such statements should be carefully examined so that the court can determine whether they are at all relevant and permissible.
CMA has repeatedly fined Meta (Facebook) for refusing to cooperate with UK authorities. The company was fined £50million last year after regulators willfully failed to provide information about willful non-compliance during an investigation into the Giphy acquisition. In January, Meta was fined £1.5million for failing to notify CMA that key Giphy employees had left and their positions were being filled. At the time, a CMA spokesman said Facebook’s behavior violated the terms of the original court order issued to stay the acquisition of Giphy and keep it as a separate company. It is to remain a separate legal entity from Meta until the matter is resolved.