Earlier today TechCrunch reported that Yahoo and Microsoft were in acquisition talks again. However, Silicon Alley Insider says that’s incorrect and it’s only about search. But that doesn’t make much sense either given the recent rejection of that very proposal by Yahoo, unless the terms now being discussed are substantially different than before.
CNBC says there are no talks happening.
Meanwhile, some members of Congress are doing some saber rattling, expressing concerns about consumer privacy and the potential pricing implications of the Google-Yahoo search deal:
“[The] announcement of an online advertising partnership between Google and Yahoo is yet another example of the rapid changes in this market and further underscores the need for close scrutiny of the impact on consumers,” U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said in announcing plans for a hearing this summer of the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection panel. He indicated the hearing would address “consolidation, competition and consumer privacy.”
There’s a concern among some members of Congress and among some ad agencies about Google’s growing footprint in online advertising broadly speaking. Accordingly, various constituencies are using the Google-Yahoo investigation as an opportunity to express that concern (as they did with the Google acquisition of DoubleClick).
However, it would be highly unlikely that the paid search arrangement between Google and Yahoo would be blocked on antitrust grounds.