Lawmakers urge Google/DoubleClick deal scrutiny

The DoubleClick offices are shown in a Denver, Colorado suburb April 22, 2005. Two U.S. senators on the antitrust subcommittee urged the Federal Trade Commission's chairman to submit Google Inc's <GOOG.O> purchase of advertising company DoubleClick to "serious scrutiny." REUTERS/Rick Wilking

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. senators on the antitrust subcommittee urged the Federal Trade Commission’s chairman to submit Google Inc’s purchase of advertising company DoubleClick to “serious scrutiny.”

Sen. Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, argued that Google had a dominant position in a form of Internet advertising called contextual ads while DoubleClick was a market leader in display advertising.

They said industry experts believed the deal could harm competition on the Web.

“While we have not reached any definitive conclusion regarding this issue, we urge that you only approve the merger if you determine that it will not cause any substantial lessening of competition with respect to Internet advertising,” they wrote.

Kohl and Hatch also raised questions about privacy implications since both Google and DoubleClick collect information about Web usage.

“We believe that this deal raises fundamental consumer privacy concerns worthy of serious scrutiny,” the letter said.

FTC spokeswoman Nancy Judy said Chairman Deborah Majoras had received the letter but that it would inappropriate for her to comment on it.

Google said in a statement it had already discussed the privacy and market share questions with the FTC.

“We remain confident that the FTC will conclude that this deal is good for consumers, advertisers and Web site publishers,” Google said.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Braden Reddall