FTC dropped the Meta antitrust lawsuit and made Lina Khan fail badly

Federal Trade Commission voted to withdraw challenging antitrust complaint Meta . Platform Inc. buys virtual reality startup Inside Unlimited, officially closing the agency’s filings.

The FTC sued to block the deal last year, filing a double complaint in federal and internal courts. Following a December trial in San Jose federal court, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila find it beneficial for Metaruled that the FTC had not presented enough evidence to demonstrate that the acquisition would harm competition in the nascent virtual reality industry.

The FTC this month chose not to appeal Davila’s decision and put the administrative case on hold while it considers next steps. Although the judge’s ruling allows Meta to close the transaction on February 10, the FTC can continue its case in administrative court and seek to cancel the transaction. But on Friday, the FTC voted to withdraw the complaint and close the case.

A spokesperson for Meta said in a statement: “We are delighted that the Inside team has joined Meta, and we are very much looking forward to working with this talented group to bring the future of VR fitness to life.” .

The decision is the first major loss for FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan, who was appointed by President Joe Biden to bolster antitrust enforcement.

Khan has taken a more aggressive approach to mergers than her predecessors and stepped up the agency’s focus on tech giants because of their potential to quickly take over. capture emerging markets. FTC has also challenged Microsoft Corp.’s proposed acquisition. Activating blizzard Inc. on a similar basis – enabling acquisitions will give the dominant platform a foothold in the emerging cloud gaming market.

FTC insists that losing the case isn’t all bad: Davila’s decision supports the agency’s theory that mergers do not immediately harm competition but have the potential to do so in the future should be blocked .

Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, a Democrat on the committee, said of Davila’s decision: “The judge sided with the FTC on basically every question of the law and made a very clear point of how we interpreted it. the law is right. conference in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday.

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