Although Apple’s conveniently doing all it can to tout iAds, Google may still be facing an inquiry from the FTC as the search giant looks to buy its way into the mobile advertising market. Google announced its acquisition of AdMob six months ago, but it looks like the regulatory committee has its sights on Google as final approval has not been forthcoming.
But Google’s not about to give up. The $750M (in stock) acquisition is that important to the company—or perhaps it’s the reported $700M kill fee built into the agreement, the amount Google will have to pay if the deal doesn’t go through.
Yeah, I’d spring for the mobile advertising company for the extra $50M, too.
I’m guessing AdMob asked for the kill fee after one of Google’s big deals went sour a few years ago: in 2008, Google dropped its search ad deal with Yahoo just hours before the DOJ was going to file antitrust charges. Google continues to edge closer to crossing the line with the government. Last year, Schmidt resigned from the Apple board after FTC scrutiny of his involvement in the two companies (and also because they both wanted to buy AdMob).
Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land also enumerates how this deal is different from the failed Yahoo deal:
Google also recognizes, unlike in 2008, that this is not a “one off” — any significant “strategic” acquisition is likely to meet with comparable opposition from regulators in the future. The company is thus communicating it’s prepared to resist efforts to corral and curtail its ambitions going forward. With this declaration the stakes just got higher.
CEO Eric Schmidt told Reuters that “we’re likely to fight very hard” for this deal, because of its strategic importance. The FTC’s case would be an uphill battle as well, since it does seem clear that there’s competition in the mobile ad market.
What do you think? Which entity is more willing to fight—and more likely to win?