Digiday DealBook: Google’s YouTube ad updates, Meta’s stalled Giphy acquisition, Elon Musk’s chat with Twitter employees, and more

Welcome to the Digiday DealBook. Our goal is to create a quick and easy overview of transactions, acquisitions and hires that took place in the previous week. The goal is to get you informed and updated on the latest industry happenings at the top of your inbox every Monday. —Carly Weihe

—To circumvent the European Commission’s antitrust investigation, Google will now allow rivals to place their ads on Youtube. Youtube, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, previously only promoted ads that were already partners with the company. With this change, Google hopes to circumvent EU antitrust regulators who are threatening to fine the company. The European Commission opened its investigation last year into whether or not the company was restricting competitors’ access to advertising space and user data on the platform. However, Google will certainly have to do more for the investigation to be dismissed than this YouTube ad.

—Meta is also facing similar antitrust complaints in the UK following the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s rejection of Meta’s appeal to go ahead with its acquisition of Giphy on Tuesday. The court dismissed all but one of Meta’s six appeals, citing that the deal would give an unfair advantage in digital advertising space. As a result, meta has been unable to move forward with the acquisition since the original deal in May 2020 for $400 million.

—Potential Twitter acquirer Elon Musk held an hour-long meeting with Twitter employees last Thursday to answer questions about the transaction, moderated by Twitter CMO Leslie Berland. Musk told Twitter employees during the show of hands video call, with all 8,000 employees invited, that his goal for the company was to have 1 billion users under his leadership. He also praised TikTok for keeping users engaged on the app throughout the meeting. As of last week, shares of Twitter have been trading around $38, while Musk will pay $54.20 per share for the company. Additionally, Musk will owe the company $1 billion if he backs out of the deal.

In other news…

  • Spotify has acquired Sonatic, a technology company that produces AI vocals. This acquisition marks Spotify’s continued efforts to expand its library of music and podcast content.
  • Tiktok has announced that it will launch new settings to limit the screen time of its users. This update is the first effort that the platform has put forward to reduce the attention of its young audience on the app. Users between the ages of 13 and 17 will receive a notification when they have exceeded more than 100 minutes on the app in a single day.
  • Apple TV is getting the rights to the Major Soccer League in a ten-year deal starting in 2023 after its deal with ESPN expires. The games will be available on Apple TV through a subscription model with MLS.
  • VoxMedia and WGA East reached a new agreement last week after 95% of union members threatened to strike. Union members voted to ratify the deal on Thursday, securing higher benefits and wages for editorial and video staff.
  • Online fashion retail platform Zalando acquires a significant stake in Highsnobiety, the media brand dedicated to lifestyle, fashion and culture. Highsnobiety will serve as a creative consultant for Zalando while maintaining editorial independence from the company. The acquisition comes after Highsnobiety signed a deal with retail company Gebr Heinemann in May last year with plans to open retail stores in the future.
  • Redbox Entertainment, a video rental company, has seen an extreme rise in its stock price over the past two weeks. Some pundits call it a “meme-stock,” similar to Game Stop in 2021. The stock price surge comes after news broke that Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul Entertainment would acquire the company.
  • 6sense, a revenue intelligence platform, has acquired advertising technology provider Granite Media. In partnership with 6sense, Granite Media will enable businesses to better market to consumers through its advertising tools.
  • Marketing agency White64 has acquired independent branding and digital studio Jake Group. This deal will expand White64’s digital marketing capabilities for its clients, and Jake Group staff will merge with the company.
  • Publicis Media’s APX Content Ventures has announced the first recipients of its $25 million Inclusion Investment Fund, part of Publicis’ Once and For All financial commitment in which ten inclusive partners will receive funding for their projects.
  • WPP has hired Michael Houston as President of American Affairs
    • He was previously CEO of Gray Group
  • 6sense has hired Terese Lam as Director of Human Resources
    • She was previously the human resources director at Wind River
  • Disney has hired Dana Walden as president of general entertainment content
    • She was previously CEO of 21st Century Fox

Digiday DealBook: Google’s advertising updates to YouTube, Meta’s Giphy acquisition stalled, Elon Musk’s talk with Twitter employees and more

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