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EU Lobby Condemns Google-DoubleClick Merger

As if Google’s proposed merger with DoubleClick hadn’t run into enough trouble in the United States lately, a lobby in the European Union has begun grilling the deal from the other side of the pond. The European Consumers Organisation (BEUC) piped in with criticism for the deal on Wednesday with a letter to the head of the European Commission, the agency charged with reviewing the merger.

Primarily, the BEUC expressed concern that the merger could harm European consumers by reducing their privacy. “…the acquisition would enable the two companies to combine their massive databases of information on Internet users, and eliminate competitive incentives the two companies otherwise would have to safeguard users’ privacy,” the letter said.

However, the lobby also made an appeal to keeping business healthy by alleging that the merger would lock out competition. “The online advertising market will be placed in jeopardy if the Google/DoubleClick merger is allowed to proceed, because the combined company will dominate both major ‘pipelines’ for online advertising – both the pipeline for search ads and the pipeline for non-search ads,” the letter said.

The European Commission is currently in the process of evaluating the Google-DoubleClick acquisition, and will make a decision by April 2.