Print 6 comment(s) - last by MADAOO7.. on Dec 28 at 12:44 AM

Google manages to squeak its new advertising acquisition through the FTC despite concerns

Google made one of the most high-profile advertising acquisitions of the year when it agreed to purchase advertising leader DoubleClick for a total of $3.1 billion USD.  Now the deal is ready to be finalized, having received official FTC approval late last week.

The Federal Trade Commission had been mulling over the acquisition for months.  There was an antitrust investigation into if the acquisition would kill competition in the online advertising market.  In the end, the FTC voted 4-1 to end the investigation and tentatively approve the deal, agreeing to keep a watchful eye on Google.

The FTC feels that, despite the fact that the acquisition may radically alter the market; there is no real evidence that it will destroy competition in the marketplace.

However, one FTC Commissioner acknowledged that the situation is really entirely unpredictable, stating, "The markets within the online advertising space continue to quickly evolve, and predicting their future course is not a simple task."

The FTC was largely unconcerned about privacy fears of consolidation of information resulting from the deal.  The Commission pointed out that these are very real concerns, but are no more applicable to this particular deal than the market in general.  It did propose behavioral marketing guidelines to protect users' privacy.

Commisioner Harbour released a dissenting statement (PDF), which can be found here.  Harbour dissented because he felt Google and DoubleClick are or will soon be competitors in several markets, and a merger would be tantamount to quelling competition. 

Key criteria for FTC approval of mergers is that the businesses involved are not competitors, as dictated by
federal horizontal merger guidelines.  The FTC's majority decided that Google and DoubleClick are not, in fact, direct competitors in any major market.

The FTC also pointed out that DoubleClick by no means had a monopoly on internet advertising, so exclusive bundling -- a typical anti-competitive process -- was less of a threat.

Google's acquisition of DoubleClick is expected to put some heat on internet advertising and service competitors Microsoft, which recently acquired aQuantive for $6 billion USD, and Yahoo, which acquired advertiser BlueLithium for $300 million USD and Right Media for $680 million USD.

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Good Luck Yahoo and Microsoft...
By MrDiSante on 12/27/2007 1:32:03 PM , Rating: 2
and I actually mean it. Call me paranoid and all, but I don't like the way that Google reads through your mail, analyzes your search patterns and essentially controls what people read on the internet by being the one-stop shop for websites on any given topic. Here's to hoping Yahoo and Microsoft can provide better competition than they have been as of late.

RE: Good Luck Yahoo and Microsoft...
By robber98 on 12/27/2007 2:07:15 PM , Rating: 4
Wait, you mean Yahoo and Microsoft don't do that? That's new to me.

RE: Good Luck Yahoo and Microsoft...
By Samus on 12/27/2007 4:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
Damn, Google's getting huge. The company isn't even 10 years old yet.

By goku on 12/27/2007 6:22:21 PM , Rating: 2
These days what exactly will the FTC NOT approve of? What happened to the monopoly destroying FTC that I remember of? Now they've merged all the bells back into AT&T...

Wha ha ha!
By MADAOO7 on 12/28/2007 12:44:35 AM , Rating: 2
After this battle station is fully complete, no Microsoft will dare oppose the Emperor Google!

Looks like a good deal, but...
By gtrinku on 12/27/2007 1:59:55 PM , Rating: 1
does it come with pussy magnet?

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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