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Russia thwarts Google acquisition of ad firm

Russian antitrust regulators have turned down a Google acquisition of ZAO Begun from Rambler Media, apparently on a technical point.

Russian antitrust regulators have blocked Google's acquisition of ZAO Begun, an online advertising unit of Rambler Media.

The companies had agreed to the terms of the $140 million acquisition in July, but Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service said "nyet." According to Svetlana Gladkova's translation of a Russian news report, the reason is that Google hadn't submitted complete information on employees in Russia, so the FAS couldn't evaluate the deal's consequences.

Google is evaluating its next move.

"We are very disappointed to hear that FAS has come to this decision. We strongly believe that this acquisition will enable us to significantly improve opportunities for Russian users, advertisers and publishers as well as the entire industry. At this time we are reviewing FAS's decision. Once this process is complete, we will decide on our next steps," the company said in a statement.

Google already is tangling with antitrust authorities in the United States, Canada, and Europe over a search-ad deal with Yahoo.

(Via Google BLogoscoped.)