Google-DoubleClick Deal May Come Under Early EU Scrutiny

A story run over the UK wires of Reuters this morning quotes a European Commission spokesperson as confirming that everyday customers of Google - presumably typical working-class folks - have been sent EC questionnaires asking their opinion about the forthcoming merger between Google and display advertising provider DoubleClick.

The two companies have stated they intend to make their initial filings of merger information with EU antitrust regulators later this month. While questionnaires from the EC are not uncommon in everyday merger investigations, there are two unusual elements here.

First is the timing, which precedes the actual filing that has yet to take place. Reuters quotes the EC spokesperson as saying this was necessary due to the anticipated complexity of the merger deal itself.

Second is the apparent fact that everyday people are getting these notices, perhaps in the mail. The EC has not independently confirmed the story outside of the Reuters report. Typically, the EC sends questionnaires to individuals connected with the businesses that would be directly impacted, or perhaps would benefit, from the merger.

Already, the US Federal Trade Commission has said it will investigate the terms of the merger in more than the usual depth. And since the deal was announced in April, the EC has stepped up its public rhetoric about Google unto itself, primarily raising concerns about how the company utilizes all that personal data it collects from its users.

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