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.
The FTC is conducting antitrust reviews of Microsoft Corp.’s $6 billion bid for aQuantive Inc. and Yahoo Inc.’s $680 million deal for the 80% of closely held ad-exchange operator Right Media Inc. it didn’t already own, lawyers close to these deals said.
Such reviews aren’t entirely unexpected given the size of these deals and they haven’t progressed to the “second request” stage as has Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick with no certainty that they ever will. However, there is a constituency who would like a more thorough assessment of all of these acquisitions including the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers.