The Google can finally rest assured that it’s acquisition of DoubleClick is finally complete and legal.
The $3.1 billion the Google payed in cash in April 2007 for the acquisition of DoubleClick from a San Francisco-based private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, will finally start to become a good investment as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission gave it’s clearance for the deal.
Initially, the deal was put under an investigation by the FCC because it there were reasons to believe that the acquisition might threaten competition on the online advertising market as Google and DoubleClick were considered direct competitors.
The recent FCC decision explicitly rejected any current or potential competition concerns. The conclusion was that Google and DoubleClick are complementary businesses and do not compete with each other. Google’s current business primarily involves the selling of text-based ads, while DoubleClick’s core business is delivering and reporting on display ads. DoubleClick does not buy ads, sell ads, or buy or sell advertising space. Rather, it provides technology to enable advertisers and publishers to deliver ads once they have agreed to terms, and to provide advertisers and publishers statistics relating to those ads.
The FTC cleared the acquisition unconditionally, without demanding any changes in or commitments concerning the companies’ business practices. The FTC stated that its “thorough analysis of the evidence showed that the companies are not direct competitors in any relevant antitrust market.”
Furthermore, the FTC concluded that the merger would not eliminate beneficial potential competition, writing that “it is unlikely that the elimination of Google as a potential competitor in the third party ad serving markets would have a significant impact on competition.” We agree with both of these findings. Google and DoubleClick provide complementary services, and competition between the companies was not necessary to create benefits for consumers. To the contrary, consumers will benefit from the two companies working together and combining our resources.
Receiving clearance from the FTC is of course an important step forward, but it does not mean that Google can now close the acquisition. For that, it must also receive clearance from European Commission (EC), which is still conducting its review.