Google Motorola Mobility deal faces more scrutiny

Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility has hit a road block as the US Justice Department has sent a second request for information about the deal.

In a regulatory SEC filing, Motorola Mobility said:

“On September 28, 2011, Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. and Google Inc. each received a Request for Additional Information and Documentary Material from the Antitrust Division of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the proposed merger between the companies. The companies intend to cooperate fully and respond expeditiously to the DOJ. The transaction is currently expected to close by the end of 2011 or in early 2012.”

Google doesn’t seem too deterred by the latest stumbling point, in a recent blog post senior vice president, Dennis Woodside expressed confidence that the US$12.5-billion deal will get the green light despite the halt.

“We know that close scrutiny is part of the process and we’ve been talking to the US Department of Justice over the past few weeks,” said Woodside.

According to Woodside a second request for information is “pretty routine”, adding that the company believes “very strongly” in the deal and that a “pro-competitive transaction” such as this is “good for Motorola Mobility, good for consumers, and good for our [Google] partners”.

“While this means we won’t be closing right away, we’re confident that the DoJ will conclude that the rapidly growing mobile ecosystem will remain highly competitive after this deal closes,” he said.

The boards of directors of Google and Motorola Mobility have unanimously approved the deal — Google’s largest acquisition ever, dwarfing its US$3.1-billion purchase of online advertising firm DoubleClick.

While the DoJ’s antitrust division reviews Google’s acquisitions for possible effects on competition, the Federal Trade Commission is conducting a broader investigation of the company’s dominance of internet search and advertising as well as looking into the company’s past acquisition.

“We’re looking at the proposed transaction,” said Gina Talamona, a Justice Department spokeswoman.

The DoJ is also reviewing Google’s proposed US$400-million acquisition of Admeld Inc., an internet advertising company that would help Google increase its share of the online ad market.

Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility will also require regulatory approvals from the European Union.



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