Another Acquisition, Another Antitrust Review for Google

Lora Bentley

Last week, Google announced it had reached an agreement to acquire ITA Software. Google will buy the Boston-based travel data provider for $700 million in cash in an effort to disrupt the travel industry and gain an inch or two on Microsoft's Bing in travel search.

 

But as is always the case when Google snags a company that will allow it a toehold in a new or expanded market, regulators are checking things out. More precisely, according to The New York Times, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice are working out which agency will do the review. As writer Brad Stone points out, if Google had its choice, the FTC would win, hands down.

 

The FTC reviewed and eventually approved Google's acquisitions of AdMob and DoubleClick. The DoJ, on the other hand, did not like the idea of Google's proposed search deal with Yahoo or the company's settlement in a case involving the scanning of books. Yet the DoJ is more likely to end up with the review of this particular acquisition because it involves flight data software and the DoJ usually handles air travel deals.

 

What's more, even if the DoJ approves the acquisition, that's not to say there won't be restrictions - at least for a time. But like Stone also notes, Google promised from the get-go to "play nice" and honor ITA's existing agreements with Google's rivals.



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