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Google wins EU approval to buy DoubleClick

The Internet search engine giant Google won Tuesday approval from the European Union to buy US online advertising firm DoubleClick for $3.1 billion.

“The transaction would be unlikely to have harmful effects on consumers, either in ad serving or in intermediation in online advertising markets,” the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust watchdog, said in a statement after concluding an in-depth investigation into the deal.

Google operates an Internet search engine that offers search capabilities for end users free of charge and provides online advertising space on its own websites. It also provides intermediation services to publishers and advertisers for the sale of online advertising space on partner websites through its network “AdSense.”

DoubleClick mainly sells ad serving, management and reporting technology worldwide to website publishers and to advertisers and agencies. Such technology allows internet publishers and advertisers to ensure that advertisements are posted on the relevant websites and to report on the performance of such advertisements.

The Commission said its in-depth market investigation found that Google and DoubleClick were not exerting major competitive constraints on each other’s activities and could, therefore, not be considered as competitors at the moment. “Even if DoubleClick could become an effective competitor in online intermediation services, it is likely that other competitors would continue to exert sufficient competitive pressure after the merger,” the Commission said. The EU approval removed the last legal hurdle to the Google’s bid for DoubleClick. The US antitrust regulator cleared the deal in December. (