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December 25, 2009

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US regulators look closer at Google's AdMob buy

UNITED States antitrust regulators are taking a closer look at Google Inc's proposed US$750 million purchase of mobile phone marketer AdMob, the latest sign of greater government vigilance as Google tries to expand its advertising empire.

The Federal Trade Commission sought more information about the deal this week, according to a Wednesday post on Google's blog.

This so-called "second request" doesn't mean regulators intend to block Google's AdMob deal. Most other acquisitions that go through this stage end up getting approved.

But the FTC's action shows regulators are watching Google more carefully as the company tries to build upon its dominance of the Internet's lucrative search advertising market. Google is expected to pull in more than US$22 billion in revenue this year, mostly from ads shown alongside search results and other Web content.

"We know that closer scrutiny has been one consequence of Google's success," Paul Feng, a Google product manager, wrote in Wednesday's blog posting. Echoing previous comments, Feng said the firm is sure its AdMob purchase, revealed last month, will be approved.

Google's huge lead in Internet search sparked a 2008 government probe that scuttled its plans to enter into an advertising tie-up with rival Yahoo Inc, which runs the second most-popular search engine. Yahoo plans to work with Microsoft Corp from next year if the two parties can gain regulatory approval.



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