US ad group opposes Yahoo-Google pact

A group representing big-spending US national advertisers sent a letter to the US Justice Department asserting an online ad partnership between Yahoo and Google will stifle competition and likely raise prices.

The Association of National Advertisers said on its web site that the letter to Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's antitrust division, came after a 'comprehensive, independent analysis' and meetings with Google and Yahoo executives, an Associated Press report said.

The report said ANA did not disclose the text of the letter but said it states its concern that 'a Google-Yahoo partnership will control 90 % of search advertising inventory and "&brkbar; will likely diminish competition, increase concentration of market power, limit choices currently available and potentially raise prices to advertisers for high quality, affordable search advertising.'

The ANA says it represents 400 companies _ including Apple, The Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil, Proctor & Gamble, and General Motors, with 9,000 brands, the Associated Press report further said.

The Justice Department and several state attorneys general are examining the partnership between Yahoo and Google, which would allow Google to sell some of the ads displayed alongside search results on Yahoo's web site.

Yahoo and Google have insisted the deal would benefit consumers and advertisers. US lawmakers, as well as consumer and civic groups, have also voiced concern over the deal.