Google Completes DoubleClick Purchase as EU Backs Down

With regulators from the European Union providing their full support, Google yesterday announced that it has completed its $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick, creating a dominant online advertising platform with almost no viable competition. While the EU's European Commission (EC) was expected to approve the purchase, it was also widely expected to impose certain conditions. Surprisingly, it did not do so.

"Although it's been nearly a year since we announced our intention to acquire DoubleClick last April, we are no less excited today about the benefits that the combination of our two companies will bring to the online advertising market," Google CEO Eric Schmidt wrote in the company's corporate blog. "Detailed integration planning ... will begin in earnest now ... though we don't have detailed plans to announce today."

Schmidt said that there would be some jobs lost during the merger of the two companies, mostly in the US. Combining the companies will occur in stages, with the US operations being consolidated by April. Outside the US, the schedule will be determined according to the needs and requirements of each region, Schmidt said.

The unchecked Google/DoubleClick deal may have one unintended consequence: It will be harder for antitrust regulators to block Microsoft's takeover bid for Yahoo!, given that both Microsoft and Yahoo! are distant competitors to Google in most key markets.

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