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Meta to lose millions as it moves to meet UK order to sell Giphy

Meta Platforms, Facebook's owner, has agreed to sell Giphy to Shutterstock for $53m (£42m), just three years after reportedly paying $400m for the animated images supplier.

The deal was announced eight months after Meta agreed to comply with a ruling by the UK competition regulator to sell the business on the grounds the tie-up could harm social media users and UK advertisers.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found the deal could allow the company to limit other social media platforms' access to so-called GIFs, "making those sites (such as Twitter or Snapchat) less attractive to users and less competitive".

Meta had acquired Giphy - a website for making, sharing and storing GIFs - to integrate with Instagram.

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The CMA's action marked the first time a UK regulator had forced a US tech giant to sell an already acquired company.

It recently made further headlines globally through a decision to block a deal with far more money involved.

Microsoft's £55bn purchase of the games maker Activision Blizzard was prevented on the grounds it would stifle competition in the cloud gaming market.

Meta had previously been fined £50m by the watchdog for refusing to comply with its investigation.

Shutterstock expects to complete the takeover within weeks though the planned purchase remains subject to approval from regulators including the CMA.

Chief executive Paul Hennessy said: "This is an exciting next step in Shutterstock's journey as an end-to-end creative platform."

The company said it would look to build Giphy's revenues from 2024.