EU to Probe Google's $3.1bn DoubleClick Takeover

10 July 2007

BRUSSELS: Google is asking the European Commission whether it is appropriate for it to rule on the search titan's controversial $3.1 billion (€2.27bn; £1.54bn) wedding with online advertising giant DoubleClick.

Such judgements are normally the preserve of regulators within individual nations. But when facing a colossus like Google, national regulators clearly believe in confronting might with might and all have declined to intervene individually.

In such circumstances, European law automatically refers the matter to the antitrust arm of the European Commission.

And, on the face of it, Google has settled for accepting the inevitable - although many believe it would have preferred to pick-off individual nations one by one.

Says London-based Google competition lawyer Julia Holtz: "Given the pan-European nature of both Google and DoubleClick's businesses, we felt that the commission was best placed to review the acquisition."

The roles of the two companies are dissimilar, says Google: "[We] and DoubleClick play different but complementary roles in online advertising. Google primarily sells ads, and DoubleClick delivers ads."

Meantime, at the behest of rivals such as Microsoft and AT&T, the US Federal Trade Commission is also reviewing the deal to determine its effects on competition.

The proposed takeover has already been slammed by European consumer group BEUC [Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs], which argued in its submission to the EC that the deal would leave consumers with "no real ability to choose services other than those served by Google."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff