European Union To Investigate Google Acquisition

Google's much-talked-about acquisition of DoubleClick will get extra scrutiny by the European Union, according to a decision released today by the European Commission.

The Commission began a preliminary investigation last month to determine whether a full investigation into the merger was necessary. Under EU law, any company that does more than €250 million is subject to EU regulation. While the Commission lacks the authority to block the acquisition entirely — both companies are based in the U.S., and thus subject to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, not the EU — it can block the companies from operating in Europe, a much worse fate indeed.

The Commission has set a deadline of April 2, 2008 to determine whether it will approve the deal. While sources within Google are saying the company is unwilling to proceed without the EU's approval, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told the BBC that the company wants to avoid further delays, lest they lose business to Yahoo and Microsoft, which have already had similar deals approved.

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