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EU Ready To Approve Google, DoubleClick

Privacy concerns won't be enough to stop deal

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Despite privacy and competitive concerns, it appears European regulators will follow tradition and approve Google’s DoubleClick acquisition.

All-US deals that receive a thumbs-up from the Federal Trade Commission never fail to receive similar treatment from the other side of the Atlantic. With that history in mind, Google should see its $3.1 billion deal for DoubleClick finally close.

The company expected the purchase to receive approval by the end of 2007. Despite the appearance of an astonishing conflict of interest, two FTC commissioners with ties to a law firm representing DoubleClick’s antitrust interest in Europe voted with two others to give US approval in December 2007.

European commissioners did not appear so pliant at first, as they extended the review period for the DoubleClick deal into the new year. However, a Reuters report claimed authorities in Brussels will match their Washington counterparts in giving the deal an OK.

Competing advertising companies believe Google will tap DoubleClick’s data in a way that gives Google’s ad products an advantage when it comes to serving them to website visitors. Google denied it would make any difference, but a competitor cited by Reuters felt that in the case of equally performing ads, DoubleClick could easily give preference to Google’s.

EU Ready To Approve Google, DoubleClick

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