Friday, 21 December 2007

Google gets approval for DoubleClick acquisition

The Associated Press reports that the Federal Trade Commission in the US have approved Google's $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick by 4 votes to 1, so enabling this major combination of online advertising businesses to proceed.

The FTC stated that "After carefully reviewing the evidence, we have concluded that Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick is unlikely to substantially lessen competition." However, Google's plans still face substantial anti-trust scrutiny in Europe where a decision is expected in April next year and Google has said that it won't close the deal before it has clearance from European regulators.

Microsoft and others have opposed the transaction on the basis that it would give Google a dominant share of the rapidly growing online advertising market but Google has argued that the two businesses won't overlap and reduce competition. Privacy advocates have also been strongly opposed to the deal because the combined company would hold an unprecedented amount of data on individual web surfing habits. However, the FTC has said that it didn't have the legal authority to block the deal on any grounds except on anti-trust matters.

In a response to Google's acquisition, Microsoft and Viacom have announced a closer partnership by agreeing new content-sharing arrangements, with Viacom also using Microsoft's online advertising system for greater market reach and sending a clear message to Google that they will still need to compete for a significant share of the online advertising market in the future.

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