Asia Digest: FTC seeks to stop Meta from acquiring Within; ThaiBev may not proceed with spinoff listing of BeerCo

Photo by julien Tromeur on Unsplash

The United States’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it is seeking to block virtual reality giant Meta from acquiring Within Unlimited, a VR firm backed by Temasek while Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) may decide not to proceed with its proposed spinoff listing of brewery unit BeerCo on the Singapore Exchange if the board deems it not in the interests of the shareholders of ThaiBev.

US’s FTC seeks to stop Meta from acquiring Within

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it is seeking to block virtual reality giant Meta and its controlling shareholder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg from acquiring Within Unlimited and its popular virtual reality dedicated fitness app, Supernatural.

In a press release on its website, FTC alleges that Meta and Zuckerberg are planning to expand Meta’s virtual reality empire with this attempt to illegally acquire a dedicated fitness app that proves the value of virtual reality to users.

It said Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is already a key player at each level of the virtual reality sector. The company’s virtual reality empire includes the top-selling device, a leading app store, seven of the most successful developers and one of the best-selling apps of all time.

“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.”

Within was founded in 2014 by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin. Within creates products, original content, formats, proprietary software and tools for virtual and augmented reality entertainment, fitness and learning.

Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Temasek, Emerson Collective, Disney, 21st Century Fox, Raine Ventures, WME, Live Nation, Vice Media, Tribeca Enterprises, Annapurna Pictures and Legendary Pictures.

ThaiBev may not proceed with spinoff listing of BeerCo

Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) may decide not to proceed with its proposed spinoff listing of brewery unit BeerCo on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) if the board deems it not in the interests of the shareholders of ThaiBev.

“Accordingly, there is no certainty or assurance that the proposed spinoff listing will materialise in due course, at all, or in the form as described in the May 5 announcement,” the company wrote in a filing.

In May, Reuters reported that Thai Beverage is looking to raise as much as $1 billion through the revived Singapore initial public offering (IPO) of its regional beer business this year.

Earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing that it had restarted work to list its regional beer unit, BeerCo, and would look to sell up to a 20% stake through the Singapore IPO.

BeerCo comprises Thai Bev’s brewing operations in Thailand and Vietnam. It has three breweries in Thailand and a network of 26 breweries in Vietnam.

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