A federal judge has sided with Meta, Facebook’s parent company, paving the way for the company to buy virtual reality startup Within Unlimited, maker of the popular fitness app Supernatural.
Federal antitrust regulators tried to block the acquisition on the grounds that it would hurt competition in the emerging virtual reality market.
But US District Judge Edward Davila rejected the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) request for an injunction against the deal. The judge’s ruling notes that the agency did not offer enough evidence to prove his case.
Meta said it will now proceed with its acquisition of Within Unlimited.
The FTC had argued that Meta’s acquisition of the small company — reminiscent of Facebook’s early purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp — would affect competition in the emerging virtual reality market.
Allowing the tech giant to buy Los Angeles-based Within Unlimited, the FTC had argued, would violate antitrust laws and reduce innovation, hurting customers who might face higher prices and fewer choices outside of controlled platforms. by Goal.
Meta Platforms Inc. said in a statement Friday after the ruling was unsealed that it was “satisfied” with the decision.
“This deal will bring pro-competitive benefits to the ecosystem and spur innovation that will benefit people, developers, and the VR space in general,” the Menlo Park, California-based company said. “We hope to close the transaction soon.”
The FTC had argued that Meta scrapped its own plans to enter the nascent VR fitness market in mid-2021 when it decided to buy Within Unlimited. Without the competitive threat of the tech giant’s own entry into the market, the agency says, innovation stalls and hurts end users.
Source: El Nuevo Herald