FTC sues Facebook parent company Meta to block acquisition of VR firm Within Unlimited

The Federal Trade Commission has sued Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. to block it from acquiring virtual-reality company Within Unlimited. In a statement, FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman said, “Instead of competing on the merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top. Meta already owns a best-selling virtual reality fitness app, and it had the capabilities to compete even more closely with Within’s popular Supernatural app. But Meta chose to buy market position instead of earning it on the merits. This is an illegal acquisition, and we will pursue all appropriate relief.” A Meta spokesperson told MarketWatch the FTC’s lawsuit is “based on ideology and speculation, not evidence. The idea that this acquisition would lead to anticompetitive outcomes in a dynamic space with as much entry and growth as online and connected fitness is simply not credible. By attacking this deal in a 3-2 vote, the FTC is sending a chilling message to anyone who wishes to innovate in VR. We are confident that our acquisition of Within will be good for people, developers, and the VR space.” Meta is in the midst of a hard pivot to becoming a metaverse company that will pit it directly against bitter rival Apple Inc. , among others. Meta shares are up 7% in late-afternoon trading Wednesday.

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