WASHINGTON DC: As widely predicted, Google's proposal to buy online advertising firm DoubleClick for $3.1 billion (€2.28bn; £1.55bn) has attracted the anti-trust attentions of the Federal Trade Commission.

The regulator has been assailed by competition concerns and complaints from the search giant's rivals, notably Microsoft - which lost out in the bidding war for DoubleClick - and telco AT&T [WARC News: 16-Apr-07].

The FTC's scrutiny of the acquisition, which began last week, has left Google unfazed. Senior corporate counsel Don Harrison is confident the deal "poses no risk to competition and should be approved".

"The online advertising industry is a dynamic and evolving space - as evidenced by a number of recently announced acquisitions" [references to Microsoft's purchase of aQuantive and WPP Group's of 24/7 Real Media].

In addition, Harrison maintains that "rich competition in this industry will bring more relevant ads to consumers and more choices for advertisers and website publishers".

US privacy groups have also welcomed the probe, which they hope will address their concerns that the acquisition will "give one company access to more information about the internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world".

The FTC has declined to comment.

Data sourced from Washington Post Online; additional information by WARC staff