Europe Leery About Google's DoubleClick Takeover

26 September 2007

BRUSSELS: It seems unlikely that Google's planned $3.1 billion (€2.20bn; £1.53bn) takeover of online advertising specialist DoubleClick is in for an easy ride in Europe, and the European Commission's interim verdict is not expected for another month.

The EC announced yesterday that its stance toward the controversial deal - which is shot through with thorny competition issues - is unlikely to be announced before October 26.

If on that date the Commission opts for a full review, Google and its intended breakfast will have to wait another four months for the final verdict.

Lawyers assess that the October 26 judgement will rest on whether online advertising is seen as a discrete market or part of a broader landscape that includes print, television and radio.

"Determining whether that is the case is going to be a hugely fact and data-intensive exercise," opines one legal eagle. "It is very hard to see it happening in a month."

The DoubleClick deal also faces a wave of orchestrated corporate hostility stateside. On Thursday Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, will give evidence for the opposition to a Senate hearing, which will also examine privacy issues.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff