Meta has completed the sale of Giphy, its animated-gif search engine, to Shutterstock for $53 million (£42 million). This comes just three years after Meta acquired Giphy for $400 million. The sale was prompted by an order from the UK’s competition watchdog, which cited concerns about competition in the market.
Giphy serves as the primary provider of animated gifs to popular social networks like Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter. As part of the deal, Meta’s platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, will still have access to Giphy’s content.
Giphy boasts impressive usage statistics, with over 1.3 billion search queries received and its content viewed a staggering 15 billion times on a daily basis. When Meta initially acquired Giphy, it had promised to make it available to other social networks. However, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigated the acquisition and determined that it would have negative effects on competition within social media and advertising. This led to the CMA ordering Meta to divest Giphy in November 2021, making it the first time the regulator had blocked a deal involving a major Silicon Valley company.
Meta had attempted to appeal the CMA’s decision in September but eventually agreed to comply with the order to sell Giphy in October, albeit with disappointment. Meanwhile, Shutterstock expressed excitement over its acquisition of Giphy. CEO Paul Hennessy highlighted Giphy’s ability to empower users to express themselves through gif and sticker content, while also offering brands opportunities to engage in casual conversations.
Giphy’s extensive library is fueled by contributions from individual artists and companies like Disney and Netflix, ensuring a constant stream of current content that can be shared and incorporated into everyday conversations via social media platforms.