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Googorola deal stalled by Feds

Probe punts acquisition into 2012

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The US Department of Justice has asked for more time to consider Google's $12.5bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility, putting paid to any hopes of closing out the deal before the end of the year.

Most of Google's acquisitions are scrutinised very closely because of the Chocolate Factory's sprawling empire across the net and its dominance in search and advertising.

Dennis Woodside, senior VP at Google, disclosed the hold-up in a blog post, where he implied that Google was neither surprised nor too fussed about the delay:

We know that close scrutiny is part of the process and we've been talking to the US Department of Justice over the past few weeks. Today we received what is called a "second request", which means that the DOJ is asking for more information so that they can continue to review the deal. (This is pretty routine; we’ve gotten these kind of requests before.)

While this means we won't be closing right away, we're confident that the DOJ will conclude that the rapidly growing mobile ecosystem will remain highly competitive after this deal closes. We'll be working closely and cooperatively with them as they continue their review.

However, there's a chance Woodside is playing it cool, since the more quickly Google can seal the deal on Motorola Mobility, the more quickly it bags the 17,000 patents commonly thought to be a main motivator in the purchase. Many commentators reckon Google is stocking up on patents for all it's worth – after ignoring them for many years – as the patent wars escalate with Android, a key battlefield.

It's also not as if Google's lawyers don't have enough to be getting on with at the moment. Quite apart from helping Android manufacturers in their patent suits and working on their own IP issues, the web giant is also facing a sweeping antitrust investigation from the US Federal Trade Commission. ®

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