Last month, the news that Google wanted to acquire New York-based AdMeld, a platform that helps publishers sell display advertising inventory, for $400 million felt a little like deja-vu. After all, it was another local acquisition, Google’s $3.2 billion purchase of ad exchange company DoubleClick back in 2007, that helped define Google’s dominance in online advertising. Apparently, the Department of Justice felt similar rumblings.
Via its public policy blog, Google reported that the DOJ has issued a “second request” for more information before they sign off. Regulators could be concerned about whether AdMeld (which helps publishers find the best deal on unsold advertising inventory across various ad networks) + DoubleClick = monopoly. On its blog, Google quoted other companies waving their pom-poms at the deal, and ran down a four-point list of why display advertising will still remain competitive, such as:
Apparently Google thought it might help to take a jab at AdMeld’s business model:
“Analysts have noted that switching suppliers is relatively easy and that this isn’t a ‘sticky’ business.”
Google also tried to couch the request for more information as par for the course of the complex world of display advertising. However, Business Insider notes:
But according to Law.com, only three past Google acquisitions have been subject to this kind of oversight. Two of them, the company’s $3.2 billion acquisition of DoubleClick in 2007 and $750 million buy of travel service ITA went through. Both took more than six months to close.
The third case, Google’s ad deal with Yahoo in 2008, was abandoned under regulatory scrutiny.