Despite a few setbacks on both sides of the Atlantic, the merger between Google and DoubleClick cleared a major regulatory hurdle today after the Federal Trade Commission voted not to block the $3.1 billion acquisition.
In its public statement the FTC said that after carefully reviewing the evidence, they have concluded that the acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition. As for privacy concerns, the agency said that it lacked the legal authority to block the deal on any grounds except antitrust. Nevertheless, they proposed a set of privacy guidelines for the online advertising industry that should transcend the Google-DoubleClick deal.
While the deal has the blessing of the FTC, it still faces antitrust scrutiny in Europe and Google has said that it won't close the deal before it has clearance from European regulators. The European Commission is expected to announce their decision on April 2, 2008.