The Wall Street Journal reports that there will likely be government scrutiny of the newly announced Microsoft-Yahoo search and advertising deal. There are also privacy questions about the deal, as well. (U.S. lawmakers have called for new rules to protect Web site users’ privacy, and the online behavioral advertising industry has agreed to new, voluntary regulations — that still fall short in privacy protections.)
A few hours after the deal was announced, Sen. Herb Kohl (D., Wis.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Committee, said it warrants “careful scrutiny” since it would combine “industry giants and direct competitors in Internet advertising and search markets.” He promised the deal would be “closely reviewed” by his committee.
A Federal Trade Commission spokesman declined to comment. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the agency is “aware of” the deal but declined to comment further.
Consumer groups weren’t as reticent, saying the deal could lead to less choice for consumers and more tracking of their online activities. […]
The agreement also could receive attention overseas. The European Union has fairly broad powers to examine deals that involve potentially restrictive business agreements, and it also reviews mergers and joint ventures. […]
Regulatory approval of the deal isn’t a sure thing, asInc. discovered last year when the Justice Department scuttled its proposed advertising deal with Yahoo over concerns that it would significantly decrease competition for search advertising.