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Google wins regulatory OK for AdMob deal

By David Goldman, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google won regulatory approval Friday for its $750 million acquisition of mobile ad firm AdMob.

The Federal Trade Commission said the merger would not harm competition, citing Apple's recent acquisition of Quattro Wireless as one factor since it allowed the tech giant to launch its own mobile ad platform, iAd.

"As a result of Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500)'s entry (into the market), AdMob's success to date on the iPhone platform is unlikely to be an accurate predictor of AdMob's competitive significance going forward, whether AdMob is owned by Google or not," said the FTC in a statement.

AdMob, which Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) agreed to buy last November, provides display advertising technology for mobile Internet sites. The acquisition would compliment Google's big push into the mobile phone arena with its increasingly popular Android operating system.

"This decision is great news for the mobile advertising ecosystem as a whole," said Google's vice president of product management Susan Wojcicki in a blog post. "Throughout the FTC's review process, it's been clear that the mobile advertising is growing rapidly."

Google had posted numerous quotes from industry analysts and competitors in support of its AdMob acquisition earlier this month, ahead of the FTC's announcement.

Google and others had defended the merger by noting the large number of competitors that already exist in the smart phone search and app advertising market.

"With Google and AdMob facing strong competition every day from businesses like Apple, JumpTap, Millennial Media, Microsoft, inMobi, Greystripe, Mobclix and many more, we agree that there's vibrant competition in this space," Google said in a blog post earlier this month.

At the time of the announcement, Google said the acquisition would help its advertising partners improve how they target mobile Web users, as well as refine advertising formats to get end-users to click on more ads. Google said mobile advertising is a growing new area that has "enormous potential as a marketing medium."

The mobile search advertising market is rapidly growing as mobile Internet use soars. It is widely believed by industry analysts that search queries on mobile phones will surpass searches on traditional personal computers in the next five years.

Google said it's moving to close the acquisition in the coming weeks as "the industry is moving fast, and we're excited to part of the race."

Founded in 2006, AdMob serves mobile Internet ads for companies like Ford (F, Fortune 500), Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500) and Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500). To top of page

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