The Federal Trade Commission asked a judge to stop Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:META) from buying Within Unlimited, which makes content for virtual reality. The judge denied the request on Friday, saying that the deal would not hurt competition in a new market.
A trial in December to decide if Meta could go through with the small deal was seen as a test of the FTC’s plan to stop what it sees as a repeat of the company buying up small, up-and-coming companies that could be competitors to take over a market, this time in the new virtual and augmented reality markets.
This week, the decision was given in sealed form. The version that came out Friday night was changed.
A spokesperson for Meta said that the company that owns Facebook and Instagram was “pleased that the Court denied the FTC’s motion to stop us from buying Within.”
In a statement, the spokesperson said, “We look forward to completing the deal soon.”
When asked for comment, the FTC did not answer right away.
Judge Edward Davila of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said that the FTC hadn’t shown that Meta would have made dedicated fitness content if it hadn’t been able to buy Within.
“Meta has a lot of money and VR engineering resources, but it doesn’t have the special skills that VR fitness apps have, like the ability to make fitness content and studio production facilities,” the judge wrote.
The decision is good news for Mark Zuckerberg, who is the CEO and founder of Meta. In December, he defended the acquisition in court, saying that his company was helping to build the virtual reality industry but not taking it over.
Zuckerberg had said in federal court in San Jose, California, that owning Within was “not that important” to Meta’s goals and that it was “less important that we own the experiences than that they exist.”
In July, the FTC sued Meta to stop the Within deal. They asked the judge to order a preliminary injunction, saying that Meta’s “campaign to conquer VR” started in 2014 when it bought Oculus, a company that makes VR headsets.