EU Lengthening Probe Into Google, DoubleClick

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European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes isn’t quite ready to rubber-stamp Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick.

EU Lengthening Probe Into Google, DoubleClick
EU Lengthening Probe Into Google, DoubleClick

Back in October, Kroes said competition, not privacy, would be the focus of the Commission’s review of Google’s $3.1 billion purchase of ad network DoubleClick. Many thought this indicated a swift review followed by approval of the deal would be the result.

It didn’t work out that way.

Kroes slapped the dominant search engine with the news that the review will take a while longer, as Bloomberg noted:

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust authority in Brussels, said in a statement today that it will review the $3.1 billion acquisition for 90 working days and make a ruling by April 2.

The commission’s decision “provides the thorough examination of the proposed merger that Yahoo believes is needed,” Toby Coppel, Yahoo Europe’s managing director, said in a statement. “Competitive online advertising markets in Europe are of great importance to publishers and advertisers.”

Google’s oft-repeated position on the deal holds that they sell contextual ads, DoubleClick runs display ads, and the two businesses do not overlap. In the US, Microsoft and AT&T have been part of the chorus with Yahoo claiming consummation of the deal should be prevented on anti-competitive grounds.

Popular opinion in the US held the belief that Google would receive a quick approval from the Federal Trade Commission over these same considerations. The EU delay may prompt the FTC to reconsider such approval if it is in the works today.

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EU Lengthening Probe Into Google, DoubleClick
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