(Reuters) - Google Inc on Friday won approval from U.S. antitrust regulators to buy online advertising company Admeld Inc without any conditions, the Justice Department said.
The deal, announced in June, was designed to give Google, the world’s largest search engine, a bigger slice of the market for graphical display ads.
“The division concluded that the transaction is not likely to substantially lessen competition in the sale of display advertising,” the Justice Department’s antitrust division said in a statement.
Google’s purchase of Admeld is the latest deal in a buying spree of technology and engineering talent to bolster initiatives outside its Internet search business, from social networking to mobile advertising.
Google has made 57 acquisitions so far in 2011. It has declined to put a dollar value on the purchases of the companies, most of which were tiny.
The Justice Department is also reviewing Google’s planned $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.
Google in general faces increasing regulatory scrutiny. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Union are both investigating Google’s business practices. The company faces accusations it uses its clout in the search market to beat rivals as it moves into related businesses.
New York-based Admeld provides technology that allows Web publishers to sell display ads as quickly as Web surfers visit different pages on a site.
Several companies offer different technologies that, working together, allow instant bidding for ads, including advertising exchanges such as Google’s DoubleClick and Yahoo Inc’s Right Media.
The Justice Department said Web publishers’ reliance on multiple display advertising platforms reduced the risk of the market tipping to a single dominant platform.
Recent entrants to the display advertising industry also factored into the Justice Department’s decision to allow Google’s purchase of Admeld.
Four-year-old Admeld counts Discovery Communications, Fox News, Hearst Television, and the Weather Channel among its clients, according to its website. The company’s revenues were around $30 million in 2010, the Justice Department said.
Google did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, although TechCrunch reported that Google paid roughly $400 million, citing anonymous sources.
The vast majority of Google’s revenue, which totaled roughly $29 billion in 2010, comes from small ads that appear alongside its search results. But the company has stepped up efforts to tap into the market for online display ads that feature images and videos.
Google said last year its display advertising business was generating revenue at an annual rate of $2.5 billion.
Reporting by Diane Bartz and Jasmin Melvin in Washington; Editing by Steve Orlofsky