Google-AdMob decision due next week

May 06, 2010

According to a report from Stifel Nicolaus, the FTC must move to block the Admob-Google merger by next week unless Google agrees to an extension in order to negotiate a settlement.



The Google Admob deal has been sitting in regulatory purgatory since Google wrestled the company away from Apple's clutches last year.  An analyst's report today says the wait might soon be over.

The Google (goog) Admob deal is seen as significant by Stifel Nicolaus analysts Rebecca Arbogast and David Kaut, not just for its importance in the mobile advertising and web metrics industry, but also as a barometer of where the government is willing to intervene between Google and its core advertising business.  The Department of Justice previously moved to block the Yahoo (yhoo)-Google search deal until Google backed down.  The analysts think the consequences of this deal might be bigger:

"This could have negative consequences, both because there could be statements of market definition that could constrain Google in the future, and because every time the company comes before either of the antitrust agencies, there is an additional ability to peek under the hood and acquire information that could build a later case."

If the commissioners vote to block the merger, the FTC would then file for a preliminary injunction to prevent Google from closing the deal.

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Google could then back down like it did during the Yahoo search non-deal.  Stifel believes that the stakes are high enough in this case for Google to fight, however.

Separately, they believe that  the DOJ is looking into opening a separate inquiry into the Apple's (aapl) business practices as they relate to Flash apps.  At this point those inquiries are an informal "poking around" to check to see if Apple's policies have an anti-competitive impact.

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