SEOUL (Reuters) - Internet search leader Google Inc. (GOOG.O) is open to new acquisitions and remains hopeful it can close the $3.1 billion purchase of Web ad supplier DoubleClick by end-2007 despite a U.S. federal probe, its CEO said on Wednesday.
“We’re open to other (acquisitions) but there are no specific ones to announce,” Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said at a news conference on the sidelines of the Seoul Digital Forum.
Schmidt reiterated Google’s hope that it could complete the DoubleClick deal, which is currently the subject of an extended U.S. federal antitrust investigation.
“We are quite convinced that the proposed merger meets all appropriate U.S. laws,” he said.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) and other Google rivals such as AT&T Inc. (T.N), have urged antitrust officials to examine the combination closely, saying it could give Google too much control over online advertising.
DoubleClick offers a digital marketplace that connects ad agencies, marketers and Web site publishers. It has more than 1,500 corporate clients.
Schmidt also said during a lecture Wednesday that Google was unlikely to buy a media content company.
“We made a decision to focus on what we’re good at,” he said, referring to the company’s powerful search functions and other technology tools.
Schmidt had said earlier this month that the company continues to view small technology firms as the core target of its merger strategy.
Google on Wednesday also unveiled a new user interface tailored to Korean users in its latest attempt to broaden its local audience.
In South Korea, one of the countries with the highest broadband penetration, global players like Google are way behind local rivals, such as NHN Corp. 035420.KQ and Daum Communications Corp. 035720.KQ.
In contrast to Google’s simple, uncluttered page design, South Korean portals offer rich multimedia and local language content, often created by users themselves, from the first page.
Google’s new user interface retains the company’s simplicity but adds a few eye-catching icons and offers improved functions.
According to research firm comScore Inc. Google increased its share of the U.S. search market in April to 49.7 percent, pulling away from Yahoo Inc. YHOO.O with 26.8 percent and Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT.O) sites with 10.3 percent.
Google is the world leader in pay-per-click advertising that runs alongside search results on its own sites and affiliates Web advertising partners.