The European Commission cleared Google Inc.'s planned $3.1 billion takeover of DoubleClick Inc. after regulators determined that the deal would pose no competition problems.
Wrapping up an in-depth investigation launched in November, the Commission concluded that the deal would be unlikely to harm consumers and that the two companies could not be viewed as rivals, at least for now.
"Even if DoubleClick could become an effective competitor in online intermediation services, it is likely that other competitors would continue to exert sufficient competitive pressure after the merger," the 27-member EC said in a press release following its weekly meeting in Strasbourg, France.
The decision came weeks before the EC's April 2 deadline and follows approval by the Federal Trade Commission. The Brussels decision was widely expected after the EC let a deadline slip for sending a statement of objections, or official list of charges, to the notifying companies.
The ruling vindicates the strategy of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Google's lead antitrust counsel before the European Union and FTC. Cleary's EU antitrust team was led by Brussels-based partners Francisco-Enrique González Díaz and Maurits Dolmans, assisted by associates Neil Rigby in London and Paul-John Loewenthal in Brussels.