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FTC Wants Meta’s Zuckerberg To Seek Permission Before Taking Part In Any Merger

We’ve seen Meta carry out mergers on a number of different occasions. Some have been more public than others. But now, the FTC has urged the court to intervene and force Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to seek permission for such decisions.

The FTC is continuing with its lawsuit against the Facebook Parent company and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. This is in regard to the acquisition of a new virtual reality application, as confirmed by a legal expert hired on behalf of the agency.

FTC was seen filing a request in the court to enforce a new law that forbids such silent mergers from taking place without any approval or review through them. Hence that means in the future, the FTC must be taken in the loop for upcoming deals and plans. As of now, the date for the upcoming trial has been set.

This case was filed in July of this year against Meta regarding the company’s acquisition of Within Unlimited. These are the makers of the popular VR fitness application called Supernatural.

As of now, the case is getting played at two separate venues, side by side. One is California’s federal court where a six-day trial will occur in December to see if this deal can occur despite the FTC's urge to intervene and push its case in front of the judge.

An attorney from the FTC took part in a recently held hearing on Friday where there was a mention of how they agreed to let Zuckerberg go from the Federal Case. However, they weren’t going to be too lenient for the internal proceedings in this regard.

They spoke about broader legal remedies to be the final solution to the matter and the FTC was going to do everything to achieve that in this case.

The complaints made in-house were surely going to block the acquisition deal, while simultaneously providing both Meta and its CEO a command for future notice of any such deals with proper approval via the FTC, in case they wish to ensure mergers.

As per the current merger law in the US, Meta has only been required to provide a notification to the FTC and its affiliated agency which is the Justice Department. This is in those cases when the deal is valued at about $101 million or more.

On the other hand, Meta is not happy with the reservations put forward by the FTC. It calls their claims totally uncalled for and meritless. They also felt the claims were coming from thinking that was absolutely separate from today’s commercial reality.

Hence, Meta is ready and willing to defend the deal strongly in the court of law, adding how confident they were about where they stand and how this deal can benefit many including developers and the VR space in a broader sense.

In 2020, a probe conducted by the House found that Facebook managed to acquire around 100 different firms in the past ten years. And out of those, only one had undergone scrutiny or review by the FTC.


Photo: REUTERS/Erin Scott

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