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HomeBusinessCourt rules in Meta’s favor for VR startup fitness app acquisition

Court rules in Meta’s favor for VR startup fitness app acquisition

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Meta Inc., the parent of Facebook, WhatsApp and other popular social media apps received a favorable ruling for its acquisition of virtual reality (VR) startup Within Unlimited, which has made the fitness app Supernatural. Federal antitrust regulators wanted to block the acquisition arguing that competition in the emerging virtual reality market would be stifled but a federal judge ruled in favor of the tech company.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila ruled against the Federal Trade Commission’s request that there should be a preliminary injunction against the deal. The judge has overseen major trials including that of the disgraced founder of Theranos Elizabeth Holmes and her then partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Davila had sentenced both of them to a prison term of over a decade for the hoax they had perpetrated due to their powerful roles in the company.

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Davila’s ruling in favor of Meta said that the FTC had to provide “at least circumstantial evidence” that Meta’s own entrance into the VR fitness market would have directly and favorably affected consumers by encouraging robust competition and not through its acquisition of Within Unlimited.

Judge Davila also wrote in the ruling, “Under this standard, the FTC’s evidence on this element is insufficient.”

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One of the points that the FTC had argued on was that Meta stopped its plan of entering the VR fitness market, after it made the decision to buy Within Unlimited. However, the Menlo Park, California based company said that although they had been “looking at” development of a VR Fitness app, there was “almost no chance” that the company would develop such a project as the business environment had changed.

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The FTC also said that Facebook’s parent company Meta has bought seven successful virtual-reality development studios. Its virtual reality content catalogs were now among the biggest in the world.

According to reports, Meta released a statement after the unsealing of the ruling that said that it was “pleased” with the decision from the court. The FTC had not responded, when asked for comment, on Monday.

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