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Requests May Signal That FTC Will Block Google’s AdMob Purchase

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Google’s proposed (and now delayed) acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob appears to be drawing even more regulatory scrutiny from the FTC. Bloomberg cites sources who say that regulators now want “sworn declarations” from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) competitors about the $750 million deal. The key sentence in the Bloomberg report comes from a former FTC general counsel, who says that “agency officials typically collect declarations ‘when they think there is some significant chance’ the agency will ask a court to block a merger, or seek to modify a deal.”

Google announced it was buying AdMob in early November and said at the time it expected the purchase to close within “the next several months.” Soon afterwards, there were reports that the FTC was reviewing the deal, and in December, Google said it had received a “second request” from the FTC — meaning that regulatory officials wanted more information about the buy and that it would therefore not be closing right away.

The consensus was that the deal would close in February — although there have been no updates from either the FTC or Google. Here’s Google statement: “We’re continuing to talk with the FTC and provide the information that they’ve asked for, but we’re not going to discuss the details of that process. We’re confident that they’ll conclude that the rapidly growing mobile advertising space will remain highly competitive after this deal closes.”