Meta has no choice but to sell Giphy at $262M loss to Shutterstock

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Talk about a fire sale. With limited interest in GIF platforms and UK regulators forcing a sale, Meta has decided to sell Giphy to Shutterstock for a mere $53 million. After purchasing it for $315 million in 2020 and subsequently being ordered to sell it by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Meta has been challenged to find a suitable Giphy buyer at a time when GIFs are perceived to be less trendy than three years ago. The GIF library has found a fitting future owner in Shutterstock, but for Meta, it means a $262 million loss.

The deal

Shutterstock announced today its definitive agreement to buy Giphy for $53 million, seven months after Meta said it would accept the CMA’s ruling that it must divest Giphy. Shutterstock said the deal is expected to close in June and is “subject to customary closing conditions.”

The deal should assuage trepidation from Giphy, which encouraged the CMA to enact behavioral ordinances rather than force Meta to sell Giphy. The animated images company feared GIFs just weren’t as cool as they were in 2020, and so the platform would mostly attract “weak or inappropriate” suitors.

“User sentiment towards GIFs on social media shows that they have fallen out of fashion as a content form, with younger users in particular describing GIFs as ‘for boomers’ and ‘cringe,’” Giphy told the CMA in August.

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