Meta to Go Ahead With Acquisition of VR Platform Within Unlimited as FTC Withdraws Case

Meta to Go Ahead With Acquisition of VR Platform Within Unlimited as FTC Withdraws Case


The Federal Trade Commission voted to withdraw an antitrust complaint challenging Meta Platforms’s purchase of virtual-reality startup Within Unlimited, officially closing the agency’s case.

The FTC sued to block the deal last year, filing twin complaints in federal court and its in-house court. Following a December trial in a San Jose federal court, US District Judge Edward Davila found in favor of Meta, ruling the FTC didn’t offer enough evidence to prove that the acquisition would harm competition in the nascent virtual-reality industry.

The FTC opted this month against appealing Davila’s decision and paused the administrative case while it considered next steps. Although the judge’s ruling allowed Meta to close the deal on February 10, the FTC could have continued its case in administrative court and sought to unwind the transaction. But on Friday, the FTC voted to withdraw the complaint and end the case.

“We’re excited that the Within team has joined Meta, and we’re eager to partner with this talented group in bringing the future of VR fitness to life,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement. 

The decision represents the first major loss for FTC Chair Lina Khan, who was appointed by President Joe Biden to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement. 

Khan has taken a more aggressive approach to mergers than her predecessors and stepped up the agency’s focus on technology giants because of their potential to quickly dominate budding markets. The FTC has also challenged Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard on similar grounds — that allowing the acquisition would give the dominant platform a leg up in the emerging cloud-gaming market.

The FTC maintains that losing the case wasn’t all bad: Davila’s decision recognized the agency’s theory that mergers that don’t immediately hurt competition but have the potential to do so in the future should be blocked. 

“The judge sided with the FTC on basically every question of law and laid out a very clear opinion that said the way we were interpreting the law was correct,” Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, a Democratic member of the commission, said of Davila’s decision at a conference in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

After facing headwinds in India last year, Xiaomi is all set to take on the competition in 2023. What are the company’s plans for its wide product portfolio and its Make in India committment in the country? We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.


Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *