FTC opens antitrust probe into Meta’s purchase of VR fitness app
This is Meta's (formerly known as Facebook) first Virtual Reality deal to be the subject of an anti-trust investigation.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has opened an anti-trust investigation into Meta’s plan to buy the VR fitness app Supernatural.
The probe means that antitrust regulators are starting to scrutinize Meta's interest in buying out VR startups, going beyond social media acquisitions.
According to Josh Sisco from The Information, Meta’s previous five VR deals weren't investigated by the government because of their small purchase prices. “But those regulators are slowing down the $400 million-plus Supernatural deal, according to two people with knowledge of the situation."
The FTC is currently suing Meta and is trying to unwind the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.
It’s unclear what criteria the watchdog is using to evaluate the VR deal. VR is a new, but fast-growing industry. Third-party estimates say that Meta has a majority market share of the market, mostly due to the early success of its Quest 2 headset.
While the FTC might eventually approve the Supernatural deal, its decision to launch the probe shows that Meta’s play of quickly buying budding VR startups to add them to its platform may be in need of drastic change.