There is no stopping Facebook. It bought Instagram, it owns WhatsApp, and now it has officially made the move to acquire Giphy. The company's VP of product, Vishal Shah, made the announcement on Friday. According to sources close to Axios, the acquisition came down to a whopping $400 million for one of the internet's most popular and well-used GIF libraries.
Talks started well before the COVID-19 pandemic broke, per Axios. But the nature of these negotiations was primarily concerned with a possible partnership. That seems to have changed since. Going forward, according to Shah, Giphy will run with Instagram. It sounds like just another major acquisition but its timing is worth noting as several Democrats have criticized marketplace monopoly and mergers under the coronavirus. The Giphy and Facebook deal won't make that crowd happy.
Don't worry, your GIFs will work — "We’ve used Giphy's API for years, not just in Instagram, but in the Facebook app, Messenger and WhatsApp," Shah wrote on Friday. "Giphy will continue to operate its library (including its global content collection), and we’re looking forward to investing further in its technology and relationships with content and API partners."
Day-to-day operations will look the same, according to Shah. Facebook users, as well as Instagram and WhatsApp audiences, will be able to use Giphy for all kinds of GIFS while developers will still have access to Giphy's APIs. If you're a GIF maker, you'll be able to share your animated masterpieces like before.
Not everyone is fond of this — This acquisition will heavily impact internal operations, beyond the public eye. While Giphy, which has a private valuation of $600 million per Axios, is expected to be able to retain its branding, Facebook will run its integration. And this is where it gets a little dicey. In April, Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez teamed up to push for a proposal against major mergers and acquisitions under COVID-19.
Both lawmakers noted that smaller businesses — like Giphy compared to Facebook — did not have the same amount of autonomy and financial mobility as digital behemoths like Mark Zuckerberg's empire do. Under the "Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act," there would be a moratorium on such mergers as the virus hammers and halts the economy.
Right now the makers of Giphy have yet to share their unfiltered thoughts on the acquisition. Down the lane, though, we might hear a more brutally honest appraisal of the buy-out. You know, like how Instagram creators never really liked the idea of Facebook integrations to begin with.