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Justice to probe Microsoft-Vermeer deal

Two San Francisco lawyers have been hired by the Justice Department to investigate Microsoft's recent purchase of Vermeer Technologies, according to a report in today's Wall Street Journal.

Any time Microsoft makes or plans to make a major business deal, you almost expect the Justice Department to pop into the picture sooner or later.

Such is the case with Microsoft's recent acquisition of Vermeer Technologies. According to today's Wall Street Journal, two San Francisco lawyers have been hired by the Justice Department to investigate Microsoft's latest deal.

The report states that John Mandle, CEO of Vermeer, confirmed that the Justice Department requested information about the transaction, but that Mandle believed it was a routine procedure.

The Justice Department usually reviews large mergers under the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust act. Both companies assumed they weren't required to file papers before the deal was agreed upon. The price of the deal has been estimated at $80 million to $130 million.

According to the report, legal action would be unusual because of the issues involved regarding monopolies. The Justice Department's investigation was instrumental in Microsoft giving up its $2.3 billion bid for Intuit last year.