US regulators approve Google-DoubleClick pact

With US antitrust clearance for its DoubleClick purchase, Google's focus now turns to European regulators, who are expected to be more critical of the top search engine linking up with a market leader in online advertising, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the proposed $3.1 billion transaction, which is strongly opposed by privacy advocates, cannot be completed without approval from the European Commission, whose review deadline is April 2.

The Federal Trade Commission said that the deal won't significantly lessen competition in the online advertising market, rebuffing complaints from Microsoft and AT&T that it would give Google a dominant position, the report said.

The European Commission declined to comment on the FTC's decision, the report said.

The FTC's approval of the deal without conditions could push European regulators to take a tougher line, says Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.

For example, they could restrict the ability of the two companies to share the market data they collect or require the combined company to sell off certain assets, analysts have said.

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