The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working overtime these days with the investigation of Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick and now, the additional investigation of two other major deals.
Microsoft’s $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive and Yahoo!’s $680 million spending on the other 80% of Right Media it did not own are being investigated as well. This was first reported, ironically enough by another publication who is looking to be acquired, The Wall Street Journal.
The FTC has a system of review called the “Hart-Scott-Rodino” process. This is standard fare with every major acquisition. Traditionally, if given a “second request”, companies are required to provide more information for a more thorough investigation. It is rumored that Yahoo and Microsoft may be receiving these second requests since Google’s $3.1 billion bid for DoubleClick warranted such a step.
With such a fast growing market, large companies are eager to have their hands on valuable players in online advertising. However, the investigations have the important end goal of maintaining the competitive nature of this market. “Advertising on the internet is one of the fastest-growing sectors of marketplace promotion; therefore, ensuring its competitiveness is critical for all participants,” stated the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers in a joint letter.
It is unclear whether or not there will be an investigation into the WPP Group’s acquisition of 24/7 Real Media. Also, it has not been elucidated whether or not the investigations will categorize these deals under all advertising or specifically the online, third-party display advertising market.