EU Commission unconcerned about Google acquisition of Doublclick
As expected, the EU Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of online advertising server Doubleclick by Google. The EU Commission concluded that the transaction would be unlikely to have harmful effects on consumers.
The Commission did not consider the companies to be competitors. Even if Doubleclick were to become an effective competitor, the Commission thought it likely that other ad-servers would exert sufficient competitive pressure after the merger. The Commission found that Google/Doubleclick would not have the ability to engage in strategies aimed at marginalising Google's competitors, mainly because of the presence of credible ad-serving alternatives to which customers could switch, in particular, companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL.
The Commission pointed out that its decision to clear the proposed merger is without prejudice to the merged entity's obligations under legislation enacted by the EU and its member states in relation to the protection of individuals and the protection of privacy.
The EU Commission has been studying the possible effects of the merger since November 2007. Initial competition concerns led the Brussels competition watchdog to undertake an in-depth investigation of the deal. Google is one of the largest providers of online advertising, particularly via its AdSense program and Doubleclick is a major player in the banner advertising market. Google's proposal to purchase Doubleclick for US$3.1 million caused fierce criticism from data protectionists and competitors. European consumer organisations had intervened against the Doubleclick deal.