March 6, 2008 / 11:02 AM / 11 years ago

EU set to clear Google - DoubleClick merger: sources

A Google search page is seen through the spectacles of a computer user in Leicester, England July 20, 2007. Google is expected to receive unconditional approval from European Union regulators next week for its $3.1 billion takeover of ad firm DoubleClick, people familiar with the situation said. REUTERS/Darren Staples

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google is expected to receive unconditional approval from European Union regulators next week for its $3.1 billion takeover of ad firm DoubleClick, people familiar with the situation said.

The approval has long been expected because the European Commission decided in January not to object formally to the transaction. The Commission, the EU’s top competition watchdog, has never rejected a deal without sending formal objections.

Privacy advocates have objected to the deal, saying it would give the two firms unprecedented access to information about consumers. The Commission has said privacy considerations are outside the scope of its authority over mergers.

The deal would combine Internet search engine giant Google’s dominance in pay-per-click Web advertising with DoubleClick’s market-leading position in flashier display ads.

The planned acquisition won approval from the Federal Trade Commission in December. For the past six years, the EU has never rejected a merger approved by U.S. authorities.

The merger is part of a consolidation within the Internet advertising industry.

Microsoft Corp bought aQuantive for $6 billion, Yahoo Inc acquired BlueLithium for $300 million and Time Warner Inc’s AOL unit bought Tacoda for an undisclosed amount.

Reporting by David Lawsky; Editing by Dale Hudson

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