As tipped last week, the European Commission has officially approved Google's (NSDQ: GOOG) $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick. In a statement, the EC affirmed that the combination was not likely to harm consumers in either ad serving or ad intermediation, and unlikely to impede competition. While this outcome has been expected for awhile, the official approval places no demands or conditions on the merged entity.
From the statement: The Commission found that the merged entity would not have the ability to engage in strategies aimed at marginalising Google's competitors, mainly because of the presence of credible ad serving alternatives to which customers (publishers/advertisers/ad networks) can switch, in particular vertically integrated companies such as Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Yahoo! (NSDQ: YHOO) and AOL.
-- Shares of Google, which is in need of a jolt in display advertising, are currently trading up around 4 percent.
-- The green light comes about 11 months after the deal was first proposed (April 13, 2007), and almost three months after the companies got the nod from the FTC.
By Joseph Weisenthal