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Microsoft Wants Google's Acquisition of DoubleClick Blocked

Spending money like a sailor on shore leave, Google has agreed to pay $3.1 billion cash for DoubleClick

Spending money like a sailor on shore leave, Google has agreed to pay $3.1 billion cash for DoubleClick, the $150 million-a-year display ad-targeting cookie-carrying activity-tracking Silicon Alley firm that was also being pursued by Microsoft.
 
It’s the most money Google has been prepared to pay for an acquisition so far, twice what it paid six months ago for YouTube – which only merited stock – and is obviously both strategic and defensive.
 
Microsoft’s interest may have cost Google in the neighborhood of a billion dollars – or will if the deal goes through. DoubleClick’s rejected suitor as well as AT&T, Time Warner, Yahoo and Viacom are raising antitrust objections to the acquisition with Washington.
 
Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, in a statement issued Sunday, said the deal “raises serious competition and privacy concerns in that it gives the Google DoubleClick combination unprecedented control in the delivery of online advertising, and access to a huge amount of consumer information by tracking what customers do online. We think this merger deserves close scrutiny from regulatory authorities to ensure a competitive online advertising market.”
 
With DoubleClick in its possession, Google would control more than 80% of the ads served on the Internet according to what Smith told the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story. Microsoft, of course, is losing its shirt to Google in advertising and search.
 
The acquisition, because of its size, requires regulatory approval.
 
Apparently anticipating complaints, Google claimed when it announced the deal Friday that it did “not believe this acquisition is anti-competitive as it promotes a vibrant healthy market for online advertising.”
 
Private equity firms Hellman & Friedman and JMI Equity took DoubleClick private for $1.1 billion two years ago when it was losing money. Pieces of the company have subsequently been sold off and they paid only $335 million for what Google is buying.

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