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Facebook’s Stealth M&A Puts Focus on Deals Under Antitrust Radar

Aug. 23, 2021, 6:00 AM

Last year, Facebook Inc. did something U.S. technology giants have done countless times before: It bought a smaller company and closed the deal without notifying competition regulators.

But this transaction -- the $400 million acquisition of image library Giphy Inc. -- was particularly bold. At the time, Facebook was under investigation by antitrust enforcers for what the government says was an illegal practice of buying companies in order to eliminate them as potential threats to its monopoly power.

Giphy used a common -- and legal -- maneuver that lets companies avoid scrutiny from merger watchdogs: It paid a dividend to ...

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