Brussels, 13th November 2007
The European Commission has decided to open an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition by US company Google of the online advertising technology company DoubleClick, also of the US. The Commission’s initial market investigation indicated that the proposed merger would raise competition concerns in the markets for intermediation and ad serving in online advertising. The Commission has 90 working days (until 2 April 2008) to take a final decision on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it. The decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation.
Google is the operator of an Internet search engine that offers search capabilities for end users free of charge and provides online advertising space on its own websites. It also provides intermediation services to publishers and advertisers for the sale of online advertising space on partner websites through its network "AdSense".
DoubleClick mainly sells ad serving, management and reporting technology worldwide to website publishers and to advertisers and agencies. Such technology allows internet publishers and advertisers to ensure that advertisements are posted on the relevant websites and to report on the performance of such advertisements.
On 21 September 2007, Google notified to the Commission the proposed
acquisition of DoubleClick. After a preliminary review, the Commission has
decided to open an in-depth investigation into whether the proposed transaction
would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic
Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it. The Commission will, in particular,
investigate whether without this transaction, DoubleClick would have grown into
an effective competitor of Google in the market for online ad intermediation. It
will also investigate whether the merger, which combines the leading providers
of respectively, on the one hand, online advertising space and intermediation
services, and, on the other hand, ad serving technology, could lead to
anti-competitive restrictions for competitors operating in these markets and
thus harm consumers.