EU To Review Google Bid for DoubleClick
European Union regulators will decide before November whether to clear Google Inc.'s $3.1 billion takeover bid for online ad tracker DoubleClick or study the issue further.
The European Commission on Monday set an initial review deadline of Oct. 26. Regulators could decide, however, to open an in-depth investigation, which could take up to four months, to examine how the creation of a new company will affect rivals and customers -- and if any changes made to the deal could eliminate antitrust concerns.
Google is the world's largest Internet search engine.
The proposed deal has prompted complaints from rival companies Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. as well as from data privacy advocates because of the control they say it would give Google over Internet advertising and personal information.
In particular, consumer advocacy groups in the U.S. and Europe have asked regulators to determine if the company would have access to a great deal of information on what people search for that is valuable to the online advertisers it sells to.
Google relies on search histories and user logs to compile information of the search terms entered into specific Web browsers as well as other potentially sensitive online information.
New York-based DoubleClick helps its customers place and track online advertising, including search ads, which Google -- more than its nearest search competitors Yahoo and Microsoft Corp. -- has turned into an extremely lucrative business.
It places ads on Web pages that targeted consumers are likely to use, generating money for smaller publishers and lesser-visited pages.