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Senate plans hearing on Google-DoubleClick deal

A committee that deals with antitrust issues plans to look into the proposed $3.1 billion merger next week. The search giant and its rivals, Microsoft and Yahoo, are expected to testify.

As expected, the proposed union of Google and ad-tech firm DoubleClick is about to get some congressional scrutiny.

According to an aide, the U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee that deals with antitrust issues has scheduled a hearing for September 27 entitled "An Examination of the Google-DoubleClick Merger and the Online Advertising Industry: What Are the Risks for Competition and Privacy?"

A witness list hasn't yet been finalized but is likely to be released Thursday, the subcommittee aide said. But the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that lawyers from Google and its rivals Yahoo and Microsoft are likely to appear. Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which is among the public interest groups that has voiced concern about the impact of the deal on consumer privacy, may also be on the list.

As CNET reported earlier this summer, an unlikely alliance of former antitrust defendants like Microsoft and AT&T and public interest groups that traditionally antagonized them have come out against the deal. Google, for its part, has maintained the transaction would benefit consumers.

There was no immediate word on what the House of Representatives side is cooking up, but Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), who leads a consumer protection subcommittee, has also taken an interest in scrutinizing the proposed deal, which is currently being reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission.