Shutterstock acquires Giphy after regulator forced Meta sale

Shutterstock Giphy Image credit: T. Schneider via Shutterstock

Shutterstock will acquire the animated image provider Giphy for $53m after UK regulators forced current owner Meta to sell its stake in the company.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last year declared that Meta’s ownership of Giphy was harmful to the competitiveness of the online advertising space.

The CMA also said there was a risk that Meta could unfairly restrict rival GIF providers’ access to the various social media and communication platforms it owns, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Meta appealed the decision, arguing that Giphy’s online advertising platform never made up a major share of the wider market and was therefore not anti-competitive.

The Giphy deal for Shutterstock, an online marketplace for stock images, is expected to close next month. Shares in the company rose around 4% after agreeing the deal.

Shutterstock CEO Paul Hennessy described the deal as an “exciting next step in Shutterstock’s journey as an end-to-end creative platform”.

Meta first acquired Giphy in 2020 in a $400m deal before the CMA stepped in. Blocking the deal marked a major shift for the UK’s role as a tech regulator for global deals.

The CMA recently blocked the acquisition of video game giant Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. However, the EU has cleared the deal in an example of diverging regulatory directions with the UK.