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Judge Denies FTC Request to Block Meta Acquiring Within

Things are starting to look positive for Meta after months of delayed acquisition

Just days after the U.S. FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requested a delay in Meta’s plan to acquire VR fitness platform Within, a federal judge turned down the FTC’s request to delay the acquisition, paving the way for Meta to acquire Within.

The court order was issued last week by Judge Edward J. Davila of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California who declined the FTC’s demand for a preliminary injunction to block Meta from acquiring the VR fitness platform.

However, Judge Davila also issued a one-week temporary restraining order to halt the Facebook and Instagram parent company from closing the acquisition in order to allow the FTC to decide whether to counter or appeal his ruling.

Both Facebook and the FTC declined to comment on the ruling as we await an in-house trial before the FTC’s administrative judge which is scheduled to take place on February 13th.

Meta Got its Way

The decision by Judge Davila is the first big loss for FTC Chair Lina Khan, who was appointed by President Joe Biden to revitalise antitrust enforcement as a critical tenet of his administration’s economic policy. Khan has taken a more aggressive approach to mergers as opposed to her predecessors as well as amped up the agency’s focus on behemoth tech companies due to their potential to easily dominate markets.

U.S FTC first sued Meta in July 2022 as it believes that the metaverse company will dominate the emerging virtual reality industry if allowed to acquire Within – makers of Supernatural, a popular VR fitness app.

This has led to Meta’s top executives such as CEO Mark Zuckerberg and VR head Andrew Bosworth testifying in court during an eight-day hearing in December last year. The delay led to Bosworth saying that, “If this deal doesn’t close in a timely matter, we’ll probably just walk away.”

However, it’s starting to look like Meta will have its way and successfully acquire Within in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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