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EU stretches Google-DoubleClick inquiry

The wait continues

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The European Commission has decided to drag out its investigation of Google's proposed DoubleClick purchase.

Today, according to Reuters, the EU regulator extended the inquiry's deadline from October 26 all the way to November 13. So it's time to edit your calendars.

Google agreed to purchase the online ad firm in April for $3.1bn in cash, but the mega-deal is facing scrutiny from both the European Commission and the US Federal Trade Commission.

Whereas Google believes the pact will empower consumers, fund small businesses, and promote free speech, others - including arch-rival Microsoft - argue that a marriage between two of the most successful internet advertising operations will hamper market competition and destroy online privacy as we know it.

A spokeswoman told Reuters that the European Commission needs more time to test remedies to competition problems that may arise from the pact. Meanwhile, in an effort to satisfy the Commission, Google has said that if the deal goes through, it will keep "certain parts" of DoubleClick's business unchanged. But it wouldn't tell us what parts those are.

"We believe that the deal is good for publishers, advertisers, and users - and we trust that the Commission will reach the same conclusion and clear the transaction," read the canned statement the company threw our way. "Today's advertising market is highly competitive and innovative, and it is evolving very quickly."

We are attributing the statement to Julia Holtz, Google's competition counsel. Google told us that was the thing to do. ®

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