US senators set to probe Google acquisition

US senators expressed no outright opposition to Google's $3.1 billion purchase of online advertising firm DoubleClick at a hearing focused on the deal's potential threats to competition and consumer privacy, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report quoted Senator Herb Kohl, D-Wis., chairman of an antitrust subcommittee, as saying that the transaction 'warrants close examination' by federal regulators. But afterward, he said there was 'no clear winner' among the deal's supporters and opponents, most notably Microsoft.

While senators can't block the deal, they can express their concerns to antitrust regulators about combinations they oppose, the report said.

But Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., appeared satisfied with a September 25 letter from Google that committed to take 'important steps' to improve its privacy standards, and also promised that the combined company would increase its jobs in New York, the Associated Press report said.

The Federal Trade Commission is already reviewing whether the Google-DoubleClick combination would violate antitrust law. Consumer groups are pressing the agency to also scrutinize Google's privacy practices, the report said.