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Shutterstock to buy GIPHY after CMA forced Meta to sell it

The Giphy logo on a black background

Shutterstock, the company which owns to rights of the many pictures you see online, has announced it will acquire GIPHY from Meta. The sale of GIPHY to Shutterstock comes seven months after the UK competition regulator told Meta to sell GIPHY off in its entirety.

Shutterstock said that it’s buying GIPHY for $53 million and that it doesn’t expect to see much revenue generated this year by GIPHY. Monetization efforts are expected to come to fruition next year.

"This is an exciting next step in Shutterstock's journey as an end-to-end creative platform," remarked Shutterstock CEO Paul Hennessy.

"Shutterstock is in the business of helping people and brands tell their stories. Through the GIPHY acquisition, we are extending our audience touch points beyond primarily professional marketing and advertising use cases and expanding into casual conversations.

“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. We plan to leverage Shutterstock's unique capabilities in content and metadata monetization, generative AI, studio production and creative automation to enable the commercialization of our GIF library as we roll this offering out to customers."

According to Shutterstock, the acquisition of GIPHY will allow it to bolster its generative AI and metadata strategy. By leveraging generative AI, Shutterstock could massively increase the number of images that customers could access to enhance their content.

For those who have not been following this unfolding saga, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), based in the UK, told Meta to sell off Giphy because it said Giphy was just getting started in ads and it thought Meta was trying to stifle the competition to its own ads business.

Shutterstock has not set out its ads plans in relation to GIPHY very comprehensively but it did say in the announcement that the acquisition taps into “native advertising for brands … via mobile phones and communications tools.”

The announcement didn’t provide a comment from Meta but it’s not likely to be pleased that it was forced to sell the company. Meta acquired GIPHY for ~$400 million in 2020 so it’s taking a huge hit by selling to Shutterstock for just $53 million.

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