Shutterstock is set to acquire animated GIF platform Giphy from Facebook and Instagram owner Meta for $53 million in cash, a divestment that the social media company is making in order to comply with United Kingdom regulators.
As reported by Reuters, last year Meta was ordered by UK regulators to sell Giphy, as they feared the company could deny or limit competitors such as Snapchat or Twitter access to the platform.
Meta acquired Giphy in 2020 for what was reported to be around $400 million, which means the forced sale to Shutterstock places the value of the GIF platform significantly lower now three years later.
Shutterstock says that the acquisition of Giphy wouldn’t notably increase the company’s revenue this year but the stock photo and video agency would look at ways to increase revenue on the platform in 2024.
Shutterstock adds that the acquisition of Giphy would boost the company’s daily users by about 1.7 billion impressions, a not insignificant number, which primarily come through its integration into Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Microsoft platforms, TikTok, Samsung devices, Twitter, Slack, and Discord.
“This is an exciting next step in Shutterstock’s journey as an end-to-end creative platform,” Shutterstock CEO Paul Hennessy says.
“Shutterstock is in the business of helping people and brands tell their stories. Through the Giphy acquisition, we are extending our audience touch points beyond primarily professional marketing and advertising use cases and expanding into casual conversations. GIPHY enables everyday users to express themselves in memorable ways with GIF and sticker content while also enabling brands to be a part of these casual conversations. We plan to leverage Shutterstock’s unique capabilities in content and metadata monetization, generative AI, studio production and creative automation to enable the commercialization of our GIF library as we roll this offering out to customers.”
Giphy describes itself as a social platform and search engine that allows users to discover, share, and save GIFs, digital stickers, and videos. Launched in 2013, Giphy is now one of the world’s most-visited websites and has raised over $150 million throughout its existence. The company’s monetary strategy is murky, but Giphy claims it makes money by helping to create as well as promote sponsored GIFs. The content is sometimes created in cooperation with its own design studio, it explains.
The GIF company does offer an API or SDK, giving software developers access to its large library of GIFs that can then be served in their own applications. It’s not clear if the company charges for access to the API, but that might be one area that Shutterstock will look to monetize next year.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.