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Google Completes DoubleClick Acquisition After Getting EU Go-Ahead

Mar 11, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Google today completed its $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick, acting quickly after the European Union gave its final approval to the deal that combines the world’s largest search marketer and the world’s largest ad-serving company.
“We are thrilled that our acquisition of DoubleClick has closed,” said Eric Schmidt, chairman-CEO of Google. “With DoubleClick, Google now has the leading display ad platform, which will enable us to rapidly bring to market advances in technology and infrastructure that will dramatically improve the effectiveness, measurability and performance of digital media for publishers, advertisers and agencies, while improving the relevance of advertising for users.”
U.S. and Australian authorities had already approved the deal.
The EU today rejected calls from privacy advocates and Microsoft that it impose conditions on the combination, saying the deal would be unlikely to have harmful effects on consumers or competitors.
“The [European] Commission’s in-depth market investigation found that Google and DoubleClick were not exerting major competitive constraints on each other’s activities and could, therefore, not be considered as competitors at the moment,” the EU said in a statement.
“Even if DoubleClick could become an effective competitor in online intermediation services, it is likely that other competitors would continue to exert sufficient competitive pressure after the merger. The Commission therefore concluded that the elimination of DoubleClick as a potential competitor would not have an adverse impact on competition in the online intermediation advertising services market.”
Privacy advocates had opposed the deal, arguing that it would give Google too much access to profile what users did on the Web.
Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, today said the move will lessen consumers’ control of their own information and push Microsoft to move forward with its bid for Yahoo.
“By failing to impose safeguards, EC regulators have helped strengthen a growing digital colossus that will now be in a dominant position to shape much of the global future of the Internet and other online media,” Mr. Chester said, adding it represents a failure of antitrust regulators to understand the impact of consolidation on data collection.
“This decision will have profound and unfortunate consequences for the Internet’s evolving role as a democratic communications medium,” he said.
Microsoft had no immediate comment.

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