Shine bright like a republic: The Caribbean island of Barbados has removed. Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. Rihanna, who hails from the former British colony, attended a grand ceremony to celebrate the new republic — and was named its 11th national hero.
Stocks plunged yesterday after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said higher inflation could be coming in the wake of the Omicron variant. He said the central bank might consider ending its economy-boosting bond-buying program sooner than expected.
UK regulators ordered Facebook to sell Giphy — and it could set a powerful precedent
Time to fire up the popcorn.gif… Facebooks purchase of Giphy is turning into a thriller. Yesterday the UK’s antitrust regulator ordered ordered Meta (formerly Facebook) to sell Giphy, the GIF-sharing platform that FB acquired last year for $315M. Refresher: Giphy doesn’t own the rights to the vids used in GIFs, so it made money by showing sponsored results to searches (you search “glow up” and get a glossy mouth with Maybelline branding).
- 2 whammies: Regulators say the merger reduced ad competition by killing Giphy’s ad service in the US and hurt social competition by giving Meta control over Snap, Twitter and TikTok’s access to GIFs.
- 4 options: Meta can appeal, sell Giphy, leave the UK, or get fined. The UK already fined Meta $70M for failing to cooperate with the investigation. The social giant said it’s considering an appeal.
Zuck never Meta tougher regulator… The company formerly known as Facebook has received plenty of antitrust criticism before, but this lawsuit is unprecedented because it involves a UK regulator trying to break up a completed tech merger between Americancompanies. Still, global regulators have targeted US tech giants before. A few examples:
- London regulators ordered Uber to shut down in 2019, but Uber won the legal battle.
- Australia passed a law to make Facebook and Google pay for news content, and both eventually struck deals with Aussie media companies after getting the legislation amended. Oz is expected to announce a new inquiry into Big Tech companies today.
Precedent is powerful… Since Meta faces ongoing antitrust lawsuits worldwide, regulators will be watching its every move. If Meta doesn’t appeal, other regulators may be emboldened to crack down too. President Biden has appointed several regulators in the past year — like FTC Chair Lina Khan — who can’t wait to challenge monopolistic practices at Meta, Google, Apple and Amazon. Meta doesn’t want to set a precedent that could break up its biz, so it may take extra care to guard its GIFs.