Microsoft-Yahoo antitrust hearing canceled

February 7, 2008, 6:11 PM UTC

By Michal Lev-Ram

Looks like the U.S. House of Representatives may have jumped the gun on Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo — a House committee spokesperson just confirmed its antitrust hearing on the proposed deal, originally slated for Friday morning, has been canceled.

Just hours after Microsoft (MSFT) revealed its $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo (YHOO) last Friday, the House Judiciary Committee, led by John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), announced its task force on antitrust and competition policy would hold a hearing to discuss MicroHoo.

Now, the hearing is postponed indefinitely and sources close to the deal say the reason for the cancellation is that the House acted too quickly last Friday, thinking that Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo was close to a done deal. One source, who did not want to be identified, said the House and Senate are “vying to take the lead” on any antitrust hearings.

A spokeswoman for the House Committee on the Judiciary confirmed that the hearing was postponed but would not comment on why that decision was made.

Meanwhile, Lynn Becker, a spokesperson for Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Senate’s Antitrust Subcommittee, said it would hold its own hearings should the proposed Microhoo deal go through.

“As in our recent examination of the Google/DoubleClick deal, we will need to investigate how this combination affects consumers, advertisers and businesses who increasingly use the internet for their news, commerce and entertainment,” the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee said in a written statement. “Should Yahoo accept Microsoft’s offer, the subcommittee expects to hold hearings to explore the competitive and privacy implications of the deal.”