Google Facing EU DoubleClick Objections
Though European Commission members aren’t talking, a research firm claimed competition regulators have drafted a statement of objections to Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick.
The sting of having to endure Wall Street’s wrath after missing analyst expectations for profits received an extra dose of pickle brine splashed into the wound.
Research firm Stifel Nicolaus released an analyst note that speculated on approval of the acquisition. Smart Money noted Stifel analysts Blair Levin and Rebecca Arbogast think approval will be forthcoming, but with conditions attached.
If Neelie Kroes and the Competition Commission decide to tack on a statement of objections to the deal, Google will have to agree to fulfill certain conditions to gain approval for the merger. Critics of the purchase believe Google will dominate the competitive online ad landscape while gaining private details on the browsing habits of the majority of Internet users.
No formal comment from the Commission will be forthcoming, as any such statement of objections would be confidential. An EU official cited in the report declined to comment.
Unlike the relatively swift rubber-stamping the US FTC gave to the deal, the EU did not accept Google’s claim of a merger of complementary businesses at face value. Google originally anticipated approval of the DoubleClick deal by the end of 2007.
The extended review initiated by the EU pushed that date out to possibly as far as April 2nd, after deciding in an initial investigation they needed more time to review the case.