After months of scrutiny, it looks like the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal is finally going to get the thumbs-up from the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission. Reuters reports simply:
Within the next 20 days to 30 days Justice officials are expected to give unconditional approval to the search pact with an announcement to coincide with approval by the European Commission.
The companies first started "talking" in 2008, when Microsoft attempted a hostile takeover of the number-two search site, but Yahoo and its board resisted. After a shakeup in the executive suite and in the board rooom, they began talking in earnest, roughly a year later. But they left the idea of a complete merger behind, this time focusing solely on search advertising.
As early as fall 2009, the DoJ began its probe, concerned that combining the two companies would too effectively "narrow the competitive field." At the time, antitrust attorney Matthew Cantor said:
Microsoft will say they need this merger to defend against this giant, Google. That's not a credible argument... They've spent years and tremendous resources creating Bing, which has gotten great reviews. They weren't pouring all these millions of dollars into Bing because they think they can't compete.
The deal was finalized in December, when the parties agreed to a 10-year deal, pending regulator approval.