Google stoked to fight FTC over AdMob

Ashesh Shah
April 10, 2010
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Google is gearing up for a war with federal regulators.

As signs mount that the Federal Trade Commission will block its $750 million acquisition of mobile ad company AdMob, Google is preparing for a legal challenge, a source close to the situation said.

“There is a high likelihood Google will litigate,” the source told The Post.

The FTC’s staff wants to challenge Google’s proposed deal the source said, and will soon present its findings to the five FTC commissioners, two of whom have been seated in the last several days.

“My guess is they will be conservative in their judgments,” and might be reluctant to overrule their staff, said Stroock & Stroock & Lavan antitrust lawyer Bruce Schneider, who is not working on this case.

The argument against Google buying AdMob is that it already dominates the online-search advertising market and should not be allowed to do the same in mobile advertising, which is part of the same overall market. Google argues that they are two separate markets.

Apple’s unveiling of a new mobile ad platform, the iAd, yesterday, may help Google’s case, because it shows there will be robust competition in mobile advertising.

If Google sues, a district judge would decide whether to issue a temporary injunction stopping the merger. Judges do occasionally rule against the FTC, like in 2007 when it let Whole Foods buy Wild Oats — though the FTC succeeded with an appeal and eventually reached a compromise with Whole Foods.

A Google spokesman declined to comment on whether it was preparing to litigate, saying only that “there is overwhelming evidence that mobile advertising will remain competitive after this deal closes.”

Resource:
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/google_stoked_to_fight_ftc_over_vmYimI695hdri5MjBbPm0L

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