Meta Postpones Supernatural Purchase -- Again

Meta has agreed to delay its purchase of the virtual fitness app Supernatural until either Dec. 31 of this year, or until a judge rules on the Federal Trade Commission's request to block the purchase -- whichever occurs sooner.

Meta and the FTC disclosed the agreement in papers filed Thursday with U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California.

The social networking platform had been expected to complete the estimated $400 million acquisition as early as July 31, but the FTC sued over the deal last week. Along with its complaint, the agency filed an emergency request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Meta from completing the deal.

Meta previously agreed to postpone the deal until at least Aug. 6.

On Thursday, the company said it had stipulated to a temporary restraining order that would prevent the deal from closing until the end of the year, or until Davila decides whether to grant the FTC a preliminary injunction that would prevent the acquisition while the lawsuit is pending.

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The FTC claimed in its complaint that the acquisition would result in reduced competition, arguing that Meta likely would have either developed its own virtual reality fitness app, or added features to Beat Saber (a virtual reality “rhythm game”), had it not agreed to purchase Supernatural.

Meta disagreed, stating last week that it considered developing its own fitness service, and decided against doing so.

The agency was divided over suing Meta, with the three Democratic commissioners voting in favor of a lawsuit and the two Republicans voting against it.

Staff at the FTC recommended against suing, according to Bloomberg.

This new lawsuit is in addition to an existing FTC antitrust case against Meta over its prior acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.

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