Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc., left, arrives in federal court in San Jose, California, U.S., Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Owner of Facebook Meta will be allowed to buy Within Unlimited, maker of the VR fitness app Supernatural, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter, as the decision by a California district court judge remained sealed as of Wednesday.

Meta shares were slightly positive on Wednesday afternoon.

The reported decision would be a significant setback for the FTC, which under progressive chairman Lina Hahn has vowed to take on riskier cases and seek to be proactive in pursuing mergers with companies the agency believes could pose a significant competitive threat.

The FTC can still appeal the decision, and it could also decide to pursue an internal administrative merger process. On Tuesday, the agency filed an emergency motion to stop Meta from completing the merger for another week, giving it time to figure out its next steps.

Bloomberg and the Times reported that a judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent Meta from closing the deal for that period of time.

The Federal Trade Commission sued to block the merger in July, alleging that Meta used the deal to “buy its way to the top” rather than compete on merit, Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman said at the time.

The suit realized Hahn’s vision of bringing complex cases aimed at pushing the boundaries of antitrust law. In a 2021 memo to agency staff, Hahn said the FTC must be “forward-thinking” in its enforcement actions and pay close attention to “next-generation technologies, innovation and emerging industries across sectors.”

The agency, which is also pursuing a separate antitrust case against Meta, argued that the market for virtual reality fitness apps would shrink if the company was allowed to buy Within because “the mere possibility of Meta’s exit likely affected competition.” to the market.

In a statement at the time, a Meta spokesman said the case was “based on ideology and speculation, not evidence. The idea that this acquisition would lead to anticompetitive outcomes in a dynamic space with as much entry and growth as online and connected fitness, simple is not trustworthy.’

“In compliance with the court order, the FTC is unable to comment at this time,” an FTC spokesman said in a statement Wednesday. A Meta spokesman declined to comment.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

SEE: How US antitrust law works and what it means for Big Tech

Source by [author_name]

Previous articleHouse Oversight Chairman Comer praised Musk on Twitter before the hearing
Next articleSamsung Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra price, specifications and release date