Meta has sold animated-gif search engine Giphy to Shutterstock for $53m (£42m), despite paying $400m for it just three years ago.
Last year, the UK’s competition watchdog reissued an order to Meta to sell Giphy, on competition grounds.
Giphy is the main supplier of animated gifs to social networks such as Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter.
Meta platforms Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will still be able to access Giphy’s content, as part of the deal.
Every day, Giphy, the world’s largest collection of gifs and stickers, says, it:
- receives more than 1.3 billion search queries
- sees various bits of its content shown a total of 15 billion times
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had originally ordered the sale in November 2021.
On acquiring Giphy, Meta had said it would be “openly available” to other social networks.
But the CMA’s investigation of the buyout had found it would harm competition in social media and advertising.
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It was the first time the regulator had blocked a deal struck by a big Silicon Valley company.
Last September, Meta made an appeal to the CMA to try to prevent the sale.
Gifs “have fallen out of fashion as a content form, with younger users in particular describing gifs as ‘for boomers’ and ‘cringe'”, Meta said.
But in October, Meta said it would accept the CMA’s order to sell Giphy, although it was disappointed.
Shutterstock said it was excited to acquire Giphy.
Chief executive Paul Hennessy said: “Giphy enables everyday users to express themselves in memorable ways with gif and sticker content, while also enabling brands to be a part of these casual conversations.”
Giphy’s library is fuelled by individual artists, who contribute original content, and companies such as Disney and Netflix – ensuring a steady supply of current content that can be inserted into everyday conversations and shared via social media.