European antitrust regulators have put up a roadblock to Google’s $3.1 billion bid for internet ad giant DoubleClick, ruling that it needs to be reviewed before approval. The US has yet to approve the deal, though Brazilian and Australian regulators signed off on it. Google already controls 70% to 80% of the paid search ad market, reports the New York Times, and DoubleClick dominates banner ads.
Industry publishing and media groups led by Yahoo have filed objections to the merger, many based on privacy issues, with the European Commission. Failed DoubleClick suitor Microsoft spent $6 billion on aQuantive this August instead. “The proposed merger would raise competition concerns,” said a statement from the EC, and requires further investigation. A final answer is due April 2008.