FTC request will delay deal closing

Google makes huge amounts of money from its internet advertising programs and is always looking to expand its advertising reach by acquisitions and new advertising avenues. One of the most recent advertising avenues that Google is looking to pursue is mobile ads.

Google announced in early November 2009 that it was looking to purchase mobile advertising firm AdMob for $750 million. While all parties in the mobile advertising market agree that the segment is very young, it is shaping up to be the next big deal in advertising. When Google moved to purchase online ad firm DoubleClick in 2007, the deal came under scrutiny by the FTC, who ultimately approved the purchase in December of 2007. By June of 2008, Google was predicted to make about $1 billion on display ads.

Google's purchase of AdMob has come under close FTC scrutiny, much like the DoubleClick deal of 2007. The purchase of AdMob will give Google 24% of the mobile advertising market. Other big players in the mobile advertising market include Millennial Media with 18% of the market, Yahoo with 11%, and Microsoft with 8% of the market. The AdMob purchase will not put Google in control of an overwhelming amount of the mobile advertising market.

On December 23, Google confirmed to eWeek that the FTC had asked for more information regarding its proposed purchase of AdMob. Google has now confirmed that the FTC has made a second request for information on the purchase. The second request will delay the acquisition to later in 2010; the deal was expected to close in early 2010.

The FTC second request is a very involved undertaking and the FTC primer for a second request reads ominously, "A Second Request combines a burdensome set of interrogatories with a burdensome document request. Responding to the interrogatory specifications of a Second Request may entail tortuous excavation of financial databases that were not originally designed to capture the data sought by the government."

Google's Paul Feng said, "We know that closer scrutiny has been one consequence of Google's success, and we've been talking to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over the past few weeks... While this means we won't be closing right away, we're confident that the FTC will conclude that the rapidly growing mobile advertising space will remain highly competitive after this deal closes. And we'll be working closely and cooperatively with them as they continue their review."

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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