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Euro regulators give Google-Doubleclick buy thumbs up

Say deal won't stymie competition

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Google's multi-billion dollar acquisition of online ad network DoubleClick has been given the go-ahead by European regulators.

The European Commission (EC) said today the $3.1bn deal won't impede competition, despite the complaints of Microsoft and Yahoo!.

"The Commission found that the merged entity would not have the ability to engage in strategies aimed at marginalising Google's competitors, mainly because of the presence of credible ad-serving alternatives... in particular Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL," said the EC in a statement.

The acquisition had already been approved by US regulators in December.

The EC had taken longer in its investigation partly because of the potential privacy concerns of joining the databases of the two companies, which include significant information on users' web activity.

Those concerns were eventually put aside as they were considered beyond the remit of European competition regulators.

Other organisations were happy the deal hadn't been blocked.

Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association of Competitive Technology, which represents SMEs, said: "The merger will undoubtedly change the competitive landscape of our industry and fuel the evolution of internet advertising." ®

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