Anti-trust expert hired to probe Google/Yahoo deal

GOOGLE YAHOO!Move seen as sign that U.S. Department of Justice is preparing antitrust lawsuit against Yahoo and Google.

By: Juan Carlos Perez

WASHINGTON, DC (RUSHPRNEWS) 09/11/2008–The U.S. Department of Justice has hired a high-profile antitrust attorney to help it review, and possibly challenge, Yahoo’s agreement to outsource part of its search advertising business to Google, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The retaining of former Walt Disney Vice Chairman Sanford Litvack is a sign that the DOJ may be readying an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal between Yahoo and Google, which would give them control over 80 percent of search ads in the U.S., according to the newspaper.

The DOJ has been taking depositions from witnesses and requesting documents via subpoenas for weeks as it mulls challenging the Google/Yahoo deal in court, the Journal reported, based on information from anonymous sources familiar with the issue.

A DOJ spokeswoman declined to comment about the article.

Google said in a statement that it delayed implementing the agreement precisely to give the DOJ a chance to understand that the Yahoo deal “is beneficial to competition.”

Conversations between Google and the DOJ continue, Google said, adding that it doesn’t plan to discuss details of the regulatory process.

“While there has been a lot of speculation about this agreement’s potential impact on advertisers or ad prices, we think it would be premature for regulators to halt the agreement before we implement it and everyone can judge the actual impact,” Google’s statement reads.



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