The deal will have taken almost a year, but Google's purchase of ad firm DoubleClick has finally cleared antitrust authorities and reached completion, according to the Associated Press. Google announced the proposal on April 13, 2007, saying DoubleClick had agreed to be bought out lock, stock, and barrel for a cool $3.1 billion.
However, the deal quickly came to the attention of regulatory entities in the United States and European Union, who cast doubt on whether Google would be allowed to swallow up such a major player in the online advertising market. The AP says U.S. regulators cleared the transaction in December 2007 (amid protests from Microsoft and others), but regulators in the European Union took until earlier today to come to a decision. Mere hours after they gave the deal a thumbs up, Google finally took control of DoubleClick.
As the AP points out, the acquisition should put renewed pressure on both Microsoft and Yahoo to "resolve their stormy courtship" and come up with an agreement on a merger deal of their own. Yahoo formally turned down Microsoft's $40+ billion offer a month ago, and Redmond is now expected to raise its bid in order to woo the web company. Meanwhile, Yahoo is running out of alternatives, with only Time Warner in a potential position to outbid Microsoft.