The latest group to chime in on Google's proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of ad firm DoubleClick is the--get ready because this is a long one--Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa, to be referred to as the CIPPIC going forward.
The CIPPIC is asking Canadian regulators, the Competition Commissioner, to be exact, to review the Google-DoubleClick deal. Like others before it, the CIPPIC alleges that the merger would prevent or at least significantly lessen competition in the market for online targeted advertising because of Google's dominance in keyword search and DoubleClick's lead in the display ad serving and behavioral targeting ad business.
"A Google-DoubleClick merger will greatly affect electronic commerce," CIPPIC Director Philippa Lawson said in a statement. "Through the merger, Google-DoubleClick will gain unprecedented market power, with which they can manipulate online advertising prices. Advertisers and Web publishers will have no real choice but to choose Google's advertisement platforms in order to remain visible in the e-commerce market."
In response, a Google spokesman provided this statement: "We are confident that this acquisition poses no risk to competition and respects consumer privacy. Numerous independent analysts and academics have determined after looking at this acquisition that the online advertising industry is a dynamic and evolving space--as evidenced by a number of recent acquisitions--and that rich competition in this industry will bring more relevant ads to consumers and more choices for advertisers and website publishers."
Already, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating the deal; subcommittees in the U.S. House and Senate are slated to hold hearings; and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group filed a joint complaint with the FTC citing privacy and competition concerns. And in Europe, the consumer organization BEUC has asked the European Commission to review the deal.
Bummer for Google, eh?