The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Google’s proposed purchase of AdMob would reduce competition in the market for Internet advertising on mobile phones, and Bloomberg suggests there are indications the FTC might be looking to modify or block the deal.
U.S. regulators are seeking sworn declarations from Google Inc. competitors and advertisers as part of their deliberations, historically a sign regulators might challenge at least parts of a proposed deal, Bloomberg says.
The declarations put on paper information that Google rivals gave the FTC in its investigation of the $750 million purchase of AdMob, announced in November 2009.
AdMob sells ads that appear on Web pages and applications on mobile phone, especially iPhones and Android devices at the moment.
Agency officials typically collect declarations “when they think there is some significant chance” the agency will ask a court to block a merger, or seek to modify a deal, says Stephen Calkins, a former general counsel at the FTC who is now a professor of law at Wayne State University’s law school in Detroit, as reported by Bloomberg.
But the FTC often collects such documents and does not litigate, he notes.
Google and AdMob combined would form the largest mobile-advertising company, with perhaps 21 percent of the U.S. market in 2009, according to Karsten Weide, an IDC analyst.