(London) Meta, the parent company of Facebook, will seek to have a court order overturn from Monday a decision of the British competition policeman (CMA) which asks it to abandon its merger with the specialist in short animations on the Internet Giphy .
The CMA had estimated in November that this acquisition estimated at 400 million dollars and announced in May 2020 risked harming online advertisers as well as users and had asked the giant of social networks to sell Giphy.
Meta appealed. The trial opens Monday at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, a London-based court, and is expected to last four days. The decision will not necessarily be rendered at the end of the hearing and could also be subject to appeal.
For Meta, this acquisition was a way to integrate into Instagram, its photo and video sharing service, the huge library of Giphy.
The CMA had estimated in November “that Facebook could increase its already large market share […] by limiting or preventing other platforms’ access to gifs” and feared that Meta would force rivals TikTok, Twitter or Snapchat “to share more user data”.
She also worried that the merger would favor Facebook in online advertising while the group led and co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg already controls nearly half of this market weighing seven billion pounds in the United Kingdom.
Meta believes on the contrary that the CMA has not demonstrated that the merger will result in a reduction of competition and describes as “irrational” the order to sell Giphy, also deemed “disproportionate” or “unfair”.
The competition policeman had issued an injunction in June 2020 to stop the integration process between Facebook and Giphy, during the time of his investigation.
But the regulator had fined Meta 50.5 million pounds in October, then another 1.5 million pounds in February, for failing to meet its obligations under the injunction.
Founded in 2013 and based in New York, Giphy is one of the leading Gif sharing platforms, claiming over 700 million daily users.