Alex Chung, Founder, GIPHY, on ContentMakers stage during day two of Web Summit 2019 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.
Sam Barnes | Getty Images
Facebook‘s acquisition of animated picture platform Giphy is being investigated by the U.K. competition watchdog.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced Friday that it has begun a probe into the deal amid fears that it could reduce competition in the U.K.
It has ordered Facebook to halt the integration of the GIF platform with its own.
The CMA said the probe will assess whether the deal will “result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom.”
Facebook and Giphy must operate separately while the investigation is carried out.
The regulator is inviting third parties to submit comments on the case between now and July 3.
Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy, which was announced last month, is reportedly valued at $400 million.
At the time of the acquisition, Facebook said it plans to further integrate Giphy into the Instagram app “so that people can find just the right way to express themselves.”
Facebook and Giphy did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.