Virtual reality

News In blow to FTC, judge reportedly allows Meta to continue buying VR startups


A federal judge won’t block Meta’s acquisition of a virtual reality startup, according to multiple reports, in a setback for the U.S. government, which has said the deal would threaten competition in emerging markets.

The ruling, released Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, has been sealed. But elements of the decision handed Meta a victory as it rejected a request for a preliminary injunction from the U.S. government that would have prevented the acquisition from completing, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported. The New York Times cited two people familiar with the matter, and the Wall Street Journal cited a person familiar with the ruling.

CNN has not independently confirmed the contents of the court decision. The FTC, which sued last summer to block the deal, declined to comment. Meta declined to comment, and several of the company’s outside lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

One high-profile case involved Meta’s acquisition of Within Unlimited, a virtual reality company and maker of a VR fitness app called “Supernatural.” The FTC lawsuit is seen as a major test for Chairman Lina Khan, who has criticized big tech platforms, and for the FTC’s unusual legal theory, which claims Meta’s deal will hurt future competition in the fast-growing industry.

The judge in the case also reportedly issued a separate order delaying Meta’s ability to close the deal for another week while the FTC decides whether to appeal the ruling.

An FTC internal administrative law judge is filing a separate challenge to Meta’s deal. The process is likely to continue despite Tuesday’s ruling, but it’s unclear whether agency officials intend to move forward.

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