Watchdog examines Google bid

GOOGLE is facing another stoush with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – the regulator has quietly launched an “informal review” of the online giant’s troubled global takeover of the online ad serving and measurement market leader DoubleClick.

In a letter sent last week to online publishers, digital agencies and other internet service groups, the commission detailed 10 issues on which it was seeking industry opinion in relation to the effect Google’s proposed $US3.1 billion ($3.8 billion) takeover would have in the Australian market.

The online juggernaut is already fighting the commission in the Federal Court with the Sensis-owned Trading Post over claims made by the regulator that the two companies engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct over sponsored links served up by Google. The ACCC has claimed it is the first action of its type in the world by a competition regulator against Google.

The first directions hearing was held two weeks ago but a date for the case was delayed until a second hearing on September 10.

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