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US antitrust regulator approves Google-AdMob deal

The US antitrust regulator has given Internet search engine Google the nod to acquire mobile display ad technology provider AdMob, saying the buyout is unlikely to "harm competition" in the market.

business Updated: May 23, 2010 12:42 IST

The US antitrust regulator has given Internet search engine Google the nod to acquire mobile display ad technology provider AdMob, saying the buyout is unlikely to "harm competition" in the market.

The two companies have a significant presence in India.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it had closed its investigation of Google's proposed $750 million acquisition of AdMob after reviewing the deal and concluding that it is unlikely to harm competition in the emerging market for mobile advertising networks, it said in a statement on Friday.

The regulator said it was concerned that two leading mobile advertising networks were combining, but technology titan Apple Inc's entry into the business would lessen the effects of the Google-AdMob deal.

"Although the combination of the two leading mobile advertising networks raised serious antitrust issues, the agency's concerns were ultimately overshadowed by recent developments in the market, most notably a move by Apple Computer Inc -- the maker of the iPhone -- to launch its own, competing mobile ad network," FTC said.

FTC was referring to Apple's initiative to develop its own, significant mobile phone advertising technology after its buyout of Quattro Wireless.

"As a result of Apple's entry (into the market), AdMob's success to date on the iPhone platform is unlikely to be an accurate predictor of AdMob's competitive significance going forward, whether AdMob is owned by Google or not," it added.

Earlier in December, two consumer groups -- Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Digital Democracy -- urged the FTC to block Google from acquiring AdMob on concerns that the deal could cause potential harm to users, advertisers and application developers.

In November, Google had said it would buy AdMob for $750 million in an all-stock deal. Google, which is believed to control 65 per cent of US Internet search market, had said the deal would enhance its existing expertise and technology in mobile advertising.

In addition, it would give advertisers and publishers more choice in this growing new area.