Google Inc. and AdMob, Inc. got a green light from the Federal Trade Commission today, which cleared their merger without conditions.
Last fall, Google struck a deal to buy mobile advertising company AdMob for $750 million.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the FTC had assembled an internal litigation team to prepare to block the deal, but in a 5 - 0 vote today, the commissioners closed the agency's six-month investigation without taking action.
“The decision was a difficult one because the parties currently are the two leading mobile advertising networks, and the commission was concerned about the loss of head-to-head competition between them,” according to a statement from the FTC. “The commission reached this decision based on important developments in the mobile advertising marketplace, particularly actions by Apple that should mitigate the anticompetitive effects of Google’s AdMob acquisition.”
While the investigation was ongoing, Apple acquired the third largest mobile ad network, Quattro Wireless, in December 2009 and then introduced its own mobile advertising network, iAd, as part of its iPhone applications package.
Google was represented by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Leading the antitrust team were partners George Cary, David Gelfand and Leah Brannon.
AdMob’s antitrust counsel was Peter Thomas, managing partner of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s Washington office.
In a statement, Google called the FTC’s decision “great news for the mobile advertising ecosystem as a whole. This was reflected in the widespread industry support for our acquisition...As an immediate matter, we’re now moving to close this acquisition in coming weeks.”
Cleary also handled the corporate, IP and employee benefits aspects of the deal for Google. Partner Ethan Klingsberg leads the corporate team; partner Len Jacoby leads the IP team; and partner Michael Albano leads the employee benefits team.