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Canadian MPs monitoring Google DoubleClick deal
Politics Watch News Services
October 31, 2007, updated 5:20 p.m.

Google's takeover of DoubleClick is being monitored by Canadian politicians.

OTTAWA  (PoliticsWatch.com) —  PoliticsWatch has learned Canadian politicians are monitoring the Google-DoubleClick merger.

"We're in fact looking at the issue now," Liberal MP Scott Brison told PoliticsWatch after Wednesday's Liberal caucus meeting on Parliament Hill. 

"We're looking at what the Canadian impact may be," he said of Google's $3.1-billion takeover of Web advertising provider DoubleClick.

Brison sits on the Commons industry committee, which has the power to hold hearings and call witnesses. 

Critics of the merger say it will drastically reduce competition in the $27-billion a year Internet advertising business and would give Google undue control of the industry. 

NDP MP Peggy Nash, who also sits on the Commons industry committee, told PoliticsWatch that an examination of the Canadian impact of the merger is "potentially something that the industry committee itself should take a look at."

"This may well be something that comes on our table," she said.

"Clearly it needs to be looked at given that analysts have called this basically cornering the Internet advertising market. Any time you're controlling such a large chunk of a $27-billion industry it needs monitoring."

The deal is already being examined by Canadian regulators. As first reported by PoliticsWatch, the Competition Bureau of Canada has launched a review of the merger. 

A spokesperson for the Competition Bureau told PoliticsWatch this week that the review remains "ongoing." While the Competition Bureau is accepting submissions from stakeholders it does not hold public hearings. 

The merger is coming under heavy scrutiny globally and is being reviewed by other jurisdictions, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission

Google has already cleared one regulatory hurdle after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced Tuesday it will not intervene in the deal.

"In reaching its decision, the ACCC noted that Google and DoubleClick are not close competitors in the provision of ad serving," ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel said in a statement. "In this context, the ACCC considered that the merger was unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in an Australian market."

Representatives from Google, industry players and analysts have already appeared before a U.S. Senate subcommittee to air their views on the merger. 

An American tech news agency reported last week that sources at the U.S. House Energy and Commerce and the House Judiciary Committees indicated separate hearings, or possibly a joint hearing, may also take place on the merger. 

In Europe, the European Commission recently extended the deadline for its anti-trust review of the merger to November 13. Dow Jones News has reported that the regulator has sent out a questionnaire to the two companies' customers to verify whether clients believe there is a proper alternative to Google-DoubleClick.

Last week, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) submitted a letter to the EC urging them to carefully consider the competition implications of the merger. 

"Global advertisers are keen to see this competitive marketplace maintained. It is hard to tell within such a rapidly changing marketplace what impact these proposed developments might have," WFA managing director Stephan Loerke said.

:  Related Links

U.S. Senate urged to oppose Google 
DoubleClick deal
(September 28, 2007)

Global Internet giant Google came under fire during a U.S. Senate hearing examining the anti-trust implications of its plans to take over Web advertising provider Double Click. 

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