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Google will have to rethink its acquisition strategy

The FTC has stepped up its scrutiny of Google acquisitions. Google can either fight or change its strategy...
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor on
The Federal Trade Commission may file an anti-trust complaint against Google over its acquisition of Admob, for $750 million. It means that Google will find it difficult to make large acquisitions in the future. Bloomberg reported that the FTC is asking for sworn statements from competitors and advertisers.

This action usually precedes the filing of a lawsuit seeking to block the $750 million AdMob purchase announced in November.

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, said 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.

Scott Cleland, writing on The Precursor Blog, predicts that Google is likely to withdraw from the deal before the FTC files a complaint.

The last thing Google wants to do is have its own actions or recalcitrance be the catalyst for a much broader and more serious antitrust crackdown on Google's rapidly proliferating anti-competitive behavior.

For Google, it means it has to rethink not only its mobile ad strategy but also its acquisition strategy. Trying to grow its businesses organically, will reduce its ability move quickly, and dominate new markets. Which is precisely what the FTC means to do.

At some point, Google may decide to make a stand and challenge an anti-trust complaint. But it will have to choose its battleground carefully, because it will lay itself open to anti-trust lawsuits from other businesses.

Google's difficulties in making acquisitions is bad news for the VC community. With very few IPOs around, acquisitions have become the main exit strategy for many venture-backed companies.

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Please see: Nine years later does Google still need 'adult supervision?' | Tom Foremski: IMHO | ZDNet.com

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