WASHINGTON A pair of powerful lawmakers who run the Senate's antitrust panel on Monday told federal regulators reviewing Google's $3.1 billion purchase of rival DoubleClick that they have grave concerns about the deal.
Although Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, stopped short of urging the Federal Trade Commission to scotch the deal, they told FTC chairman Deborah Platt Majoras that the deal could create a fearsome Internet conglomerate. Kohl chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel, which oversees competition policy. Hatch is the panel's senior Republican.
"Antitrust regulators need to be wary to guard against the creation of a powerful Internet conglomerate able to extend its market power in one market into adjacent markets to the detriment of competition and consumers," the lawmakers wrote. "We therefore urge that the FTC only approve this merger if it concludes after completing a comprehensive investigation that this merger will not cause substantial injury to competition."
Although Google is the world's leading search engine, a core part of its business is the placing of text-based ads on third-party sites. DoubleClick has a leading market position in placing display ads on third-party Internet sites.
The deal has come under intense scrutiny in Europe as the European Commission last week opened an in-depth probe of the deal, pushing from Nov. 13 to April 2 a deadline for its decision on the merger.