Facebook is paying a fine of 9.6 million euros in Austria for the unannounced acquisition of Giphy.
The Federal Competition Authority (BWB) announced on Monday that the US internet giant has acknowledged the allegations and accepted the penalty. Facebook took over the internet in May 2020, but did not report the purchase to Austria’s antitrust authorities. The merger must now be retroactively registered with the BWB and verified.
Given the minimum transaction value that has been in place since 2018, the merger should have been reported. The transaction value limit was introduced in Austria after Facebook managed to acquire WhatsApp in 2014 without it being verified by antitrust authorities. At the time, antitrust law was targeting sales only, which was not enough for free services like WhatsApp or Giphy.
For three years now, it is no longer necessary to report an acquisition in Austria only if a certain minimum turnover is achieved in the country, but also if the value of the acquisition exceeds 200 million euros and if the target company is “largely” in Austria Active, so the BWB.
That was the case with Giphy, according to cartel watchdogs. Taking into account the peculiarities of the case, the focus should not only be on direct use via your website and application, but also on users of services, websites and applications from other third-party providers that integrate Giphy using programming interfaces, for example Facebook and Signal and Snapchat.
Specifically, the BWB found an implementation ban violation. She said in the BWB broadcast that Facebook cooperated extensively in the process and requested an amicable end to the process, a so-called “settlement.” Facebook has acknowledged the suitability of the €9.6 million fine requested by BWB. The BWB applied to cartel court last Friday to impose a fine.
The value of Facebook’s Nasdaq-listed stock rose 0.93 percent to $333.37 in Monday’s trading.
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