FTC Appears to Be Preparing to Challenge Google's AdMob Deal

The Federal Trade Commission appears to be laying the groundwork to mount an antitrust challenge to Google Inc.’s (GOOG) proposed acquisition of mobile-advertising company AdMob.

The FTC has assembled an internal litigation team to prepare for a possible effort to block the deal, according to people familiar with the matter. It also has sent letters to several of AdMob’s competitors asking them to testify in sworn statements about the potential impact of the acquisition, according to several other people. In addition, the agency has briefed Congress about its concerns, people familiar with the matter said.

The FTC’s staff hasn’t made a final decision to try to halt the deal, and its five commissioners haven’t yet voted on the question. Google lawyers continue to meet with the agency’s staff to argue in favor of the acquisition, and the two sides could yet come to an agreement that assuages the FTC and preserves the AdMob deal.

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