Hopes raised of legal challenge to Google ITA deal

Reports in the US have suggested the Department of Justice is preparing a court case to block Google’s $700 million purchase of software firm ITA.


A flurry of reports have emerged since Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources “close to the case” as saying that Google could face an antitrust lawsuit and that files were being prepared.


The news was welcomed by the Fairsearch coalition of leading OTAs and technology suppliers including Kayak, Expedia and Microsoft.


But observes warned the development does not necessarily mean officials are actually poised to pull the plug on the deal. The AdMob buy-out by Google has been cited as an example of how previous “contentious” deals were nodded through.


It was suggested a case was being prepared in case Google seeks to seal the purchase imminently after it set the clock ticking in December by enacting a legal provision giving the government 30 days to decide whether to challenge the deal.


However, there is legal provision for this 30-day deadline to be extended if the Justice department decides Google has not fully complied with the agency’s requests.


Google has reiterated its contention that the ITA deal will increase competition but opponents insist the opposite is true as it will undermine competition and consumer choice.


 

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