According to a new court report, Meta is unlikely to close its acquisition deal for Within until February 2023.
Having announced plans to acquire the Supernatural developer last year, Meta’s faced an uphill battle ever since due to an antitrust probe from the Federal Trade Commission. While the FTC later filed a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, which forced Meta to keep this deal open until December 31, 2022, Reuters confirmed through a new court filing that it’s been extended to January 31, 2023. However, depending on the ruling date, this could be dropped sooner.
Plaintiff and Defendants have agreed to extend the TRO by one month to ensure this Court has sufficient time to rule on the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction before the TRO expires. Therefore, it is hereby stipulated and agreed that the TRO shall be extended to either January 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time, or until the first (1st) business day after the District Court rules on the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction pursuant.
Having sued Meta in July to prevent Within’s acquisition, the FTC argues this move would “substantially lessen competition, or tend to create a monopoly, in the relevant market for VR dedicated fitness apps,” citing Meta’s existing ownership of Beat Saber. “Meta would be one step closer to its ultimate goal of owning the entire ‘Metaverse,’” the complaint stated. In a prepared statement to UploadVR, Meta responded, claiming the FTC’s case is “based on ideology and speculation, not evidence.” On Monday, CTO Andrew Bosworth stated in court (via Bloomberg) that “if this deal doesn’t close in a timely matter, we’ll probably just walk away.”
Even if the Within deal falls through, the ongoing lawsuit hasn’t stopped Meta from acquiring other developers from taking place. Back in October, Meta announced during its annual Connect event that they’d acquired Camouflaj & Armature, who respectively developed Marvel’s Iron Man VR and Resident Evil 4 VR.