U.S. judge hearing FTC case against Facebook won’t quash subpoena for Sequoia

A U.S. judge hearing a big antitrust case against Meta’s (META.O) Facebook declined on Thursday to quash a subpoena that the government had sent to Sequoia Capital seeking its analyses of Instagram and WhatsApp before they were acquired by Meta.

The Federal Trade Commission, which has filed a lawsuit asking the judge to force Meta to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, had sought depositions of one current and one former Sequoia executive.

The FTC, in court papers, describes Sequoia’s Roelof Botha as a lead investor in Instagram shortly before Meta bought it while it says Jim Goetz is a retired Sequoia partner who helped negotiate the WhatsApp acquisition.

Sequoia had argued in court filings that the depositions were “unduly burdensome and not proportional to the needs of this case.”

In a brief hearing, Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said: “I’m going to deny the motion to quash.” He urged the parties to return to court if they failed to agree on how long the depositions would be.

The FTC filed a lawsuit in 2020 asking a court to undo then-Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014. It said that the company acted illegally to maintain its social network monopoly.