Britain's competition regulator ordered Facebook-owner Meta to sell animated-images platform Giphy on Tuesday after its view that the acquisition reduced innovation in the advertising market was upheld by a tribunal in the summer.

Meta said it would accept the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) order to unwind the 2020 deal.

"We are disappointed by the CMA's decision but accept today's ruling as the final word on the matter," a Meta spokesperson said in a statement. "We will work closely with the CMA on divesting Giphy."

The British regulator blocked the deal, valued at a reported $400 million, in November 2021 on concerns that Meta could deny or limit competitors' access to Giphy's GIFs.

It was also worried about the loss of a potential competitor in display advertising, even though Giphy had no presence in the sector in Britain.

The ruling was the first time Britain had blocked an acquisition by a U.S. tech giant, and signalled a new determination to scrutinise digital deals.