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May 29, 2007

FTC investigates Google acquisition of DoubleClick

Posted by David Hunter at 9:22 PM ET.

Microsoft got its wish and there will be a second stage investigation by the Federal Trade Commission of the Google acquisition of Internet ad firm DoubleClick. The news was broken by Steve Lohr at the NY Times this morning and confirmed by Google later in the day:

Google is confident the FTC will conclude the acquisition “poses no risk to competition,” Google said in the statement.

Several independent analysts have determined that “the online advertising industry is a dynamic and evolving space … and that rich competition in this industry will bring more relevant ads to consumers and more choices for advertisers and Web site publishers,” the company said.

The company pointed to other companies’ recent acquisitions in the online advertising market as evidence of competition there.

Microsoft’s subsequent acquisition of aQuantive Inc figures prominently in the talking points.

Also, the investigation may open a real can of worms for all Internet advertising sellers, including Microsoft, since the FTC apparently plans to investigate the privacy aspects of the deal, not just its effects on competition. You may recall that Microsoft touts its adCenter advertising platform as offering better demographic targeting than competitors, which is the polite way of saying they think they know a lot about their search and MSN/Windows Live users.

Filed under Acquisitions, Advertising, Coopetition, DoubleClick, General Business, Google, Governmental Relations, Legal, MSN, Microsoft, Privacy, aQuantive, adCenter

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3 Responses to “FTC investigates Google acquisition of DoubleClick”

  1. FTC to review Microsoft’s acquisition of aQuantive -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Perhaps Microsoft executives should be careful of what they wish for. They famously suggested an antitrust investigation of Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick and got their wish. Now John R. Wilke and Kevin J. Delaney at the Wall Street Journal are reporting that the FTC is looking into other recent acquisitions in the Internet advertising industry including Microsoft’s blockbuster acquisition of aQuantive. [...]

  2. Microsoft sics lobbyists on Google’s DoubleClick buy -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] You may recall that Microsoft was rather upset to be left at the altar when DoubleClick ran off with Google and was vociferous in demanding a detailed antitrust investigation which came to pass when the FTC announced a second stage investigation of the acquisition. Now we find out that just in case the folks in Washington didn’t understand the nuances of their position, Microsoft hired the lobbying firm of Patton Boggs to tell their story: [...]

  3. FTC greenlights Google acquisition of DoubleClick | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] At the time I observed that complaining about privacy was a two-edged sword, but it turns out that swords weren’t allowed. The EU is still investigating however, so the merger isn’t a done deal.   Filed under Coopetition, Google, Governmental Relations, General Business, Microsoft, DoubleClick   [Permalink] [TrackBack] [...]

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