Yahoo, Google Deny EU Ad Deal Impact, But EC Looks For Itself

We pretty much knew the European Commission would be looking over Yahoo’s (NSDQ: YHOO) planned deal to run ads from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) when the portal finally informed the continent’s antitrust authority in July. Still, several news outlets are reporting it as news today, allowing the sites again to defend their position…

The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers yesterday said the “anti-competitive” deal would harm European publishers because many also operate in north America, to which the deal is limited, and because Yahoo will have less incentive to compete with Google here. But Google told Reuters last night: “The agreement is limited in scope to Yahoo’s US and Canadian websites, and it will not have any significant effect on Europe. We are, of course, cooperating with the commission and are confident that they will reach the same conclusion.”

In early July, EC competition commissioner Neelie Kroes’ spokesman told me Yahoo had not notified the commission about the deal, but it did so just a week later. The spokesman last night told Reuters: “In mid-July, we decided to open a preliminary investigation on our own initiative into potential effects of the Google-Yahoo agreement on competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) market.” It’s unclear that this is a full-blown investigation, however. The US Department of Justice is looking at potential American effects.