Is the Admob-Google Acquisition Headed for Anti-Trust Court?

admob google antitrust case possible

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the $750 million AdMob acquisition by Google could be headed to antitrust court:

Google’s purchase of AdMob would form the largest mobile-advertising company. The companies combined had 21 percent of the U.S. market in 2009, according to Karsten Weide, an analyst with researcher IDC in San Mateo. The market has been doubling or more in size annually, Weide said.

The measure to investigate further has bipartisan support with three democratic and two republican Congressmen.

“The need for a thorough review is particularly pressing given Google’s dominant position in search advertising” and “its growing influence over other forms of online advertising,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman.

We’ll be watching this story as it develops. Personally, I don’t think anything is going to happen. What do you think?

Thanks to Dr. Steven White for the tip via Twitter.

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5 Responses to “Is the Admob-Google Acquisition Headed for Anti-Trust Court?”

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  1. I respectfully suggest you are mistaken. If the Bloomberg report that the FTC staff recomended blocking Google-AdMob was not accurate the FTC would have signalled so. It is not common for the commission to politically reject the law enforcement recommendation of its prosecutors.
    If you want to see why Google-Admob is viewed as creating a monopoly bottleneck for advertisers and publishers see this chart: http://googleopoly.net/merger_to_monopoly.pdf
    For more background, see this 30-page backgrounder with a one-page summary, top 10 reasons Google-AdMob is anticompetitive, why Google is a monopoly, and why Google’s antitrust defenses are specious.
    Scott Cleland, Precursor LLC, Publisher of GoogleMonitor.com and Googleopoly.net

  2. Oops here is the link to the backgrounder: http://googleopoly.net/admob_backgrounder.pdf
    Scott Cleland

  3. Holly Kolman says:

    Scott, thanks for visiting mobiEnthusiast and for your post. It’s my personal opinion that the merger will not be overturned, not legal fact and not legal advice. The Bloomberg article said the FTC had no comment. If there is a pending lawsuit, I would think it would be imprudent to speak to the press unless it is a written statement that has been approved by the legal department of the parties of the lawsuit. When I first signed up for AdMob in 2007, I could tell right away that the company was a good candidate for a Google buyout. While it is true that Google has a large percentage of mindshare, Bing and Yahoo are not standing still, and Apple has plans to monetize advertising as well. There is a full list of mobile service providers at WikiMobiPedia.com (and, speaking of lawsuits, WikiMobiPedia.com just lost its case to Wikipedia, and will be renamed WikiMobiDex.org.) I’m not trying to minimize the behemoth power of this merger, but I am simply pointing out it is not the only mobile advertiser in the nation, which I believe is the test for a monopoly (but I am not a lawyer so I could be completely wrong here and nobody should take my personal opinion as legal advice). Furthermore, I have no financial interest in either company and have discontinued the use of both services on mobiEnthusiast because I have yet to realize any financial incentive for using either service on this site.

  4. Holly,

    To follow up on your point, the legal standard for blocking a merger is much lower than a monopoly. The standard is that the merger may not “substantially lessen competition.” When the #2 player buys the #1 player in a highly concentrated merger, and when that #1 player AdMob is the only serious actual competition facing Google in this market, it is pretty clear under that the merger would “substantially lessen competition.”
    We will know soon enough what the FTC will do. It will be interesting to see if Google decides to fight the Government in court. That would not be wise, but Google as you know has its own views/way of doing things…
    Bottom line: Google’s antitrust liabilities are very very high.
    Scott Cleland

  5. Holly Kolman says:

    Thanks, Scott. I wasn’t aware of the procedures for blocking/overturning mergers. I’ll be interested to see what happens.

    For further clarification: I just realized I do use adsense for feeds, so if you receive mobiEnthusiast.mobi via feed, there is adsense at the bottom.

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