FTC Seeks to Block Meta From Acquiring Within Unlimited

By Kathryn Hardison

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block Meta Platforms Inc. from acquiring Within Unlimited Inc. and its virtual reality dedicated fitness app, Supernatural.

The FTC said Wednesday that Meta, formerly Facebook, is already a key player at each level of the virtual reality sector. It alleges that Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are planning to expand Meta’s virtual reality empire with the acquisition of the fitness app, which would lessen competition in the market and violate antitrust laws.

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, is the largest provider of virtual reality devices, the FTC said.

The FTC voted 3-2 to authorize staff to seek a temporary retraining order and preliminary injunction. A federal court complaint and request for preliminary relief has been filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California to halt the transaction.

“Instead of competing on the merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top,” said FTC Bureau of Competition Deputy Director John Newman. “Meta already owns a best-selling virtual reality fitness app, and it had the capabilities to compete even more closely with Within’s popular Supernatural app. But Meta chose to buy market position instead of earning it on the merits. This is an illegal acquisition, and we will pursue all appropriate relief.”

Representatives from Meta did not immediately return requests for comment.

Write to Kathryn Hardison at kathryn.hardison@wsj.com

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