Home F.T.C. Eyes Antitrust Action in Google DoubleClick Acquisition

F.T.C. Eyes Antitrust Action in Google DoubleClick Acquisition

In developing news, the NY Times is reporting that The Federal Trade Commission has “opened a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google’s planned $3.1 billion purchase of the online advertising company DoubleClick”. Ironically two of the companies that called for this were Microsoft and AT&T, both of whom have colorful histories battling antitrust suits. According to the NYT:

“Within a few weeks, perhaps within days, the F.T.C. will decide whether to escalate its investigation into the Google deal, antitrust experts say. That step, known as a “second request” for information, would suggest that the proposed acquisition raises more serious antitrust issues.

Google said it was confident that the deal would withstand scrutiny.”

Central to any antitrust action (if it occurs) will be the fact that Google collects the search histories of its users, while DoubleClick tracks what Web sites people visit. When combined, this gives a lot of user data to one company. However, as the NYT notes, “privacy issues are not typically the concern of antitrust officials.” Of more importance is how a merger/acquisition affects competition – in other words, would it give Google a monopoly in online advertising?

It’s been a big month or so for online advertising deals, kicked off by Google’s acquisition of Doubleclick for $3.1B on April 13. On May 18 Microsoft announced its $6B purchase of aQuantive, a 10-year-old publicly traded digital marketing company – the biggest acquisition in Microsoft history. In other action over the past month, Yahoo! spent $680M to purchase Right Media, AOL acquired a controlling stake of German ad-serving company ADTECH AG, and WPP purchased 24/7 for $649M.

Very early days yet, but it’s the first time Google has been put under any major antitrust scrutiny. The YouTube deal in 2006 was worth $1.65B and it gave Google a huge lead in the online video space, but they received no scrutiny from government on that. The online advertising space is a LOT more profitable at this point in time though, so many of Google’s competitors will be hoping (if not pushing) for action by the F.T.C.

Let us know in the poll below what you think.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.