Meta fined again by UK regulator over Giphy merger

Meta failed to disclose key changes about its company to the UK Competition and Markets Authority despite it facing an investigation over its Giphy deal.

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Image: Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has fined Meta, previously known as Facebook, over the company not cooperating in an investigation regarding its acquisition of Giphy.

The $400 million Meta-Giphy deal has been under review by the competition watchdog since June 2020, a month after the deal was announced.

The competition regulator on Friday said it fined Meta £1.5 million as the company failed to disclose the resignation of key staff, which is a requirement of the investigation.

According to the CMA, Meta failed to notify the regulator about the resignation of three key employees and the reallocation of their roles. These three individuals had previously been included on a list of key staff provided to the CMA by Meta.

The £1.5 million fine is the second to be issued against Meta from the regulator regarding the Giphy deal, with the firm previously being fined £50 million after it significantly limited the scope of compliance reports.

The fine also follows the CMA already directing Meta to sell Giphy after it concluded the tech giant's acquisition of the GIF giant would reduce competition between social media platforms and the local advertising market.

That direction is currently in dispute as Meta submitted an appeal of the order to the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal last month. In that appeal, the tech giant is arguing the regulator does not have the power to force a sale.

The fine adds to Meta's pile of troubles, with the tech giant losing over a quarter of its value on Thursday, almost $240 million, in a week where it sold off its crypto foray Diem, forecast a $10 billion hit from upcoming iOS changes, and received its first ever criminal charges.

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