Senior executives from both companies are scheduled to show up before a U.S. Senate panel on Thursday afternoon to argue their respective cases for why Google should–or should not–be allowed to purchase DoubleClick for $3.1 billion. The acquisition was announced in April but is still undergoing a review by the Federal Trade Commission and regulators in Europe and Australia.
The hearing could mark a turning point in Google’s relationship with Washington. It is the first time that Congress has seriously scrutinized the fast-growing company’s business strategies, and the first time that a proposed acquisition by the company has encountered such concerted political opposition.
It also represents the result of months of private lobbying and public agitation against the merger by Google’s most dangerous business rivals. No stranger to antitrust issues, Microsoft has ordered its legendary army of lobbyists to torpedo the deal, and AT&T, Yahoo and Time Warner have also expressed concerns.
Later: NYTimes coverage — Senators Scrutinize Google’s Bid for Ad Firm