An appeals tribunal in the United Kingdom affirmed an earlier finding directing Meta (Facebook’s parent company) to unwind its acquisition of Giphy in a decision issued on Tuesday. The decision comes more than six months after the initial CMA finding and more than two years after Meta first announced its ambition to acquire the company.
However, Meta was not completely defeated by the ruling. While the appeals panel ruled in favor of the CMA on five of the six claims, it did decide that the CMA neglected to properly notify Meta of Snapchat’s acquisition of Gfycat for nearly a year after becoming aware of the ruling, undercutting the company’s case. In collaboration with Meta and the CMA, the tribunal will consider how to correct this error in the coming weeks.
Nonetheless, the verdict lays out a difficult path forward for the planned transaction. The panel broadly maintained the decision’s logic and is unlikely to overturn it completely, leaving Meta with the arduous chore of unraveling the agreement.
“Today’s ruling found that the CMA’s approach to its investigation was ‘difficult to defend’ and ‘undermines the entirety of the Decision,” said Meta spokesperson Christopher Sgro. “We look forward to understanding how these serious process flaws will be addressed. We firmly believe our investment would enhance GIPHY’s product for the millions of people, businesses, and partners who use it.”