DOJ Asks Google for More Info on AdMeld Buy

The Justice Department asked Google for a second request for information regarding its $400 million Admeld acquisition bid.

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) proposal to acquire display ad provider Admeld is getting a second request for information from the Justice Department.

Google in June agreed to purchase Admeld for $400 million to help large Website publishers select ads from ad networks such as Google's, and Yahoo's Right Media. Admeld counts Thomson Reuters and News Corp. among its customers.

However, due to the size of the deal and Google's already strong position in the online advertising market, the DOJ quickly requested information on the proposed merger.

Neal Mohan, the Google vice president of display ads who is shepherding the deal, said July 27 that the regulator sent the search engine a second request for info given the purchase price of the deal.

"This doesn't surprise us, as today's display advertising industry is very new and highly complex," Mohan said in a blog post. "But we'll work to enable this review to be concluded as quickly as possible - display advertising is highly competitive and fast moving, and we don't want our efforts to bring better services to our clients to be delayed."

Unlike the search ad market Google largely owns, the display ad field is much more competitive. Buyers and sellers choose amog direct sales, networks, exchanges, demand and supply platforms and more.

Still, IDC said Google is now the U.S. display ad sales share leader, passing Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) with 14.7 percent market share. Many ad experts have argued Admeld's technology is one of the last major puzzle pieces Google has yet to add as it seeks to expand it ad purview.

The DOJ's second request is common enough in the industry. While some industry watchers argue second requests for info are signals a watchdog is concerned about a deal's potential affect on competition in a sector, it does not signal the DOJ is looking to block the deal.

After all, the DOJ requested more info for Google's ITA Software buy before approving it this year. Ditto for the Federal Trade Commission, which put Google's AdMob buy through the regulatory ringer before approving it in May 2010.

The FTC is currently undertaking a broad antitrust inquiry into Google's search ad practices.