RUSSIA’S ANTI MONOPOLY service, FAS, has stopped Google from snapping up the Begun advertising agency for $140 million, saying the deal would damage competition in online advertising.
The Rusky anti-trust watchdog claimed the Google monster hadn’t given them enough information regarding the financials of the deal, noting in a statement on the FAS website: “(There was) no documented information about individuals that may influence the business group Google, nor a complete list of persons belonging to the group Google, including registered and/or outside Russia.” Surely the KGB could have done a little digging on Google’s behalf, no?
Rambler Media, the UK registered owner of Russia’s Rambler portal had agreed to sell up to the Internet search giant in July. Both Google and Rambler were doubtless ready to toast the deal with crates full of vodka, but will probably now have to drown their sorrows instead.
The rejection, however, may not have simply come down to a Google paperwork snafu, with whispers claiming there could be darker political motives behind the decision.
Some say prime minister Putin reared his head and said “niet” to letting a giant US company, already a force to be reckoned with globally, dominate Russia’s online ad market.
Putin is said to have demanded FAS take a more active role in matters of anti-trust, and the organization seems to be stepping up to the plate, becoming one of Russia’s most powerful agencies. Pravda.
The FAS rejection is yet another smack in the chops for Google, which only recently announced it would delay its Yahoo ad deal while negotiations with the US DoJ are ongoing. Well, Beda (nikogda) ne prikhodit odna (when it rains, it pours).
A spokesperson for Google Russia told Reuters the firm was “very disappointed” because it strongly believed “this acquisition will enable us to significantly improve opportunities for Russian users, advertisers and publishers as well as the entire industry".
The firm will now probably be rushin’ to appeal the decision. µ
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