Meta paid $400m three years ago for Giphy, the animated-gif search engine. Now it has sold for $53m to Shutterstock.
The UK’s competition watchdog reissued an order to Meta last year, requiring it to sell Giphy.
Giphy is the leading 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.
Giphy, the world’s most extensive collection of gifs and stickers, says it receives more than 1.3 billion search queries every day, and various bits of its content are shown 15 billion times daily.
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 found it would harm competition in social media and advertising. It was the first time the regulator had blocked a Silicon Valley company’s deal.
Last September, Meta appealed to the CMA to try to prevent the sale.
Meta said that gifs “have fallen out of fashion as a content form, with younger users, in particular, describing gifs as ‘for boomers’ and ‘cringe'”.
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 populated by individual artists who contribute original content and companies such as Disney and Netflix. This ensures a steady supply of current content that can be inserted into everyday conversations and shared via social media.