UK watchdog orders Facebook to sell Giphy

The United Kingdom's antitrust watchdog has blocked Facebook's acquisition of Giphy and ordered the social network to sell off the GIF-sharing platform. It said Tuesday that the deal hurts social media users and advertisers by stifling competition for animated images.

The Competition and Markets Authority says the deal would let Facebook "increase its already significant market power" by denying or limiting other platforms' access to Giphy GIFs and drive traffic to Facebook owned sites. It's the first time the watchdog has sought to unwind a tech deal.


Can California require women to be on boards?

California's first-in-the-nation law requiring women on corporate boards is being challenged in court this week on constitutional grounds.

A trial begins Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by the conservative group Judicial Watch. The lawsuit claims that the law violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution by mandating a gender-based quota.

The law requires publicly traded companies headquartered in California to have at least one woman on their boards of directors. Larger boards must have up to three women board members by January.

More women have been named to corporate boards in California since the law passed three years ago.


Stocks sink as omicron and Fed worry investors

Wall Street's losses deepened on Tuesday after the head of the Federal Reserve said it will consider shutting off its support for financial markets sooner than expected.

The S&P 500 fell 1.9%. It was already down in the morning amid worries that the omicron variant would hit the global economy. Losses accelerated after Fed Chair Jerome Powell told Congress the central bank will consider halting its bond purchases meant to lower long-term rates sooner than expected.

Short-term Treasury yields rose as investors moved up expectations for a Fed rate hike. Crude oil slid 5.4%.


European inflation rises to 4.9 percent

Official figures show that consumer prices across the 19 countries that use the euro currency are rising at a record rate.The European Union's statistics agency said Tuesday that the eurozone's annual inflation rate hit 4.9% in November, largely as a result of a huge spike in energy costs. That's the highest since records began in 1997 and up from 4.1% the previous month.

Like others around the world, the eurozone, which is made up of 19 economies including France and Germany, is enduring big price hikes as a result of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and blockages in supply chains.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner