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Meta sells Giphy to Shutterstock for $53M after UK antitrust order

Three years after buying Giphy for $400 million, Meta has found a buyer.

Today, Shutterstock signed an agreement with Meta to buy Giphy for “$53 million of net cash paid at closing,” indicating Facebook’s parent company has recovered only 13% of its money. Shutterstock expects the sale to be finalized next month, with Meta entering into a contractual agreement to continue using Giphy’s content across its products.

Seven months after the U.K. antitrust authorities ordered Meta to sell Giphy because the merger diminished dynamic competition, the announcement was made. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ordered the sale in November 2021, but the appeals procedure took another year.

Meta reluctantly agreed to sell Giphy in October last year, but the formal divestment process didn’t start until the CMA issued its final order in January this year, which gave Meta a set period of time to sell its asset—told that this was likely a six-month window, which meant Meta had to close a deal quickly.

Meta had to find a credible buyer that would keep Giphy running as a GIF search engine and sell Giphy as a complete service.

After the CMA blocked Microsoft’s megabucks Activision acquisition at the end of April, the Meta/GGiphy acquisition was thrust back into the spotlight. Three weeks later, Brussels approved the deal.

While Microsoft’s $68.7 billion bid for Activision is an entirely different case that likely will have more twists and turns as the case winds its way through the various appeals processes, it does seem like the U.K. is trying to make up for lost time after countless big tech acquisitions were ushered through the regulatory approval process without question.

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