On 13 November 2007, the Commission concluded that the transaction raised serious doubts as to its compatibility with the common market and with the functioning of the EEA Agreement and decided to initiate proceedings under Article 6(1)(c) of the Merger Regulation.2
After a second phase investigation, the Commission has concluded that the concentration is not likely to significantly impede effective competition in the common market or in a substantial part of it and that it is therefore to be declared compatible with the common market and the functioning of the EEA Agreement pursuant to Articles 8(1) and 10(2) of the Merger Regulation and Article 57 of the EEA Agreement.
Google, a United States of America (United States) public company listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange operates what has become the most popular internet search engine, whose search capabilities are offered to end users free of charge. It later started to provide online advertising space on its own websites as well as on partner websites (affiliated to the Google “AdSense” network). At the same time, it improved its offer of free functionalities (such as the Google toolbar to facilitate searches) and other web-based software (gmail, Google Earth, Google maps, an office suite, etc) and, more recently especially via the acquisition of YouTube, started to provide content. It derives almost all of its revenue from online advertising.
DoubleClick, a United States non-listed company, mainly sells ad serving, management and reporting technology worldwide to website publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies, in addition to ancillary services. It is launching an intermediation (ad exchange) platform and it owns Performics (a search engine management (“SEM”) agency3).
On 19 October 2007 the notifying party provided commitments. In accordance with Article 10(1) of the Merger Regulation, the original first phase deadline was extended by 10 working days until 13 November 2007. In its decision under Article 6(1)(c) of the Merger Regulation the Commission considered that these commitments did not address its concerns regarding the elimination of potential competitive constraints and about non-horizontal issues. On 8 February 2008, the notifying party informed the Commission that (i) the commitments offered on 19 October 2007 were explicitly made pursuant to Article 6(2) of the Merger Regulation to enable the Commission to declare the acquisition of DoubleClick by Google compatible with the common market and the EEA Agreement under Article 6(1)(b) of the Merger Regulation and (ii) as the Commission did not declare the transaction compatible under Article 6(1)(b), the commitments were automatically withdrawn upon the adoption by the Commission of the decision initiating proceedings under Article 6(1)(c) of the Merger Regulation on 13 November 2007.
See Form CO annex 5.4(ii). A SEM is a company which provides search engine marketing optimization services; Performics also operates an affiliate marketing network, an internet marketing method through which companies reward one or more "affiliate" websites for each visitor or customer gained through the affiliate's marketing efforts.